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Proposed budget builds on City of Charlotte's commitment to better work with minority- and women-owned small businesses

Seven months after a WCNC Charlotte investigation, the city manager plans on investing more money to support minority-, women- and small business enterprises.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Seven months after a City of Charlotte "mistake" resulted in an uncertified talent coach securing a "game-changing" set of pandemic financial payments, the proposed 2024 budget builds on the city's commitment to be more equitable with government contracts.

The proposed budget, which Marcus Jones presented Monday night, earmarks an extra $1.5 million to small and minority business development, which the Charlotte City Council has called one of its "key initiatives." His budget also dedicates another $1.4 million to the Charlotte Business INClusion Office, which the city manager previously announced now answers directly to him.

A WCNC Charlotte investigation found Charlotte's Economic Development Department did not consider a single certified minority business for leadership development work that eventually totaled more than $400,000, including a job for its Corridors of Opportunity initiative. Instead, the agency selected a talent coach whose friend, the department's assistant director, she listed as a bridesmaid in her wedding.

In response to WCNC Charlotte's reporting, council members asked questions, the mayor pledged better accountability in the future and Jones promised changes. In fact, he immediately changed the city's contracting policy, so that it's more equitable.

The budget proposal includes $1 million for the CBI to continue its Capital Access Program, Bonding Program, and vendor outreach. Economic Development also received $500,000 to continue supporting AMP Up CLT, NXT CLT, and Scale Up CLT as well as provide funding for "programs and initiatives in the community that come up throughout the budget year that support MWSBEs."

The city council will hold a public hearing on this proposed budget Monday and will adopt a final budget in June.

Contact Nate Morabito at nmorabito@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. 

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