New county budget includes increased health department fees

There are some conflicting feelings from Mecklenburg County leaders after a new budget was proposed showing a number of fee increases across the county.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department is proposing a hike on most services like vaccinations, forms of birth control and HIV testing, which people now can get for free.

FOX 46 talked to resident Adonis Moss, who pays for his medical expenses out of pocket.

“That's the thing,” he said. “It's going to cost you a lot, and some people don’t have the funds like that to be able to come out of pocket,” he continued, “so right now all my hospital bills are because of my knee and there's a lot of them.”

The fee increases for the health department will mostly fall on the shoulders of Medicaid.

Mecklenburg resident, James Lee, talked about the battle of increasing medical expenses telling FOX 46, “on the one end, I understand someone has to pay for those services for people getting this for free, but then for people that can't afford it, they're helping them to dig a deeper hole.”

In the three-hour meeting, commissioners fired off questions. Health Department fee increases were low on the totem pole. Some weren’t keen on increasing daily admission at outdoor pools from $1 to $2. According to Commissioner Pat Cotham, increasing fees for developers seemed like a hypocritical move in their effort to provide more affordable housing.

“We're saying we want to be collaborative on affordable housing,” she said to fellow commissioners, “and we want to make a difference, but then were going to raise the fees on the builders,” she continued, “and those fees are going to get passed down. So that means the house is going to be more expensive, which means the rents and all that's going to be more.”

Commissioners didn’t take action on the proposal Tuesday, and will revisit the budget on another date.