North Carolina

North Carolina government is based on the federal structure, with executive, legislative and judicial branches located in the state capital, Raleigh.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg | 311 or 704.336.7600

The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are each governed by councils elected every two years in partisan elections – the Charlotte City Council and the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. The city manager is appointed by City Council and oversees day-to-day operations of the city. The city’s mayor works with City Council to establish general city policies. The county manager is appointed by the Board of County Commissioners and oversees the day-to-day operations of the county. City Council and Board of County Commissioners meetings are open to the public and televised live on cable channel 16.

NC Driving Information

N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles | | 919.715.7000

Driver’s License Information

New Charlotte residents must obtain a North Carolina driver’s license within 60 days of establishing a permanent residence. Requirements include a proof of your full name, age and social security number; proof of liability insurance coverage; and proof of residency.

N.C. has a graduated licensing program for drivers age 15 to 18. Licenses for ages 18 to 53 are renewed every eight years. After age 54, licenses are renewed every five years.

For a list of acceptable documentation (for proof of identity, liability coverage and residency) and DMV locations, please visit the DMV’s Web site or call the number above.

Auto Registration & License Plates Information

New residents must obtain an N.C. driver’s license before registering a vehicle. There are some situations under which you can use a driver’s license from another state.

New Charlotte residents must register motor vehicles. Vehicle registrations from other states usually remain valid for 30 days, but this time period varies depending on your prior state of residence. You must provide the title (unless the title is held by a lien holder) and a valid registration card from the state of prior registration. Fees for private passenger vehicles include a $40 title fee and a $28 registration fee. Registration must be renewed annually.

Vehicle must also receive an annual safety and emissions inspection that costs $30. Inspection stations are usually found at service stations, car dealerships and auto repair shops.

Driving Rules & Regulations

Charlotte citywide speed limit is 35 mph unless otherwise posted. Speed limit in school zones is 25 mph. Statewide speed limit is 55 mph unless otherwise posted.

Seatbelts are mandatory for all passengers.

Child restrain devices are mandatory for children less than eight years old and lighter than 80 pounds. Children between 40 and 80 pounds can be secured with a belt-positioning booster seat. They must also sit in the back seat if the vehicle has an active passenger-side air bag and a rear seat. Children under age 16 must use a seat belt or child passenger restraint system at all times, whether in the front or back seat. Placing the shoulder belt under the child’s (or adult’s) arm or behind the back is illegal.

Vehicles must stop for school buses loading or unloading.

Drivers must burn their headlights when using windshield wipers. Motorcyclists must wear helmets and burn head lights at all times.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs carries severe penalties, including imprisonment, fines and the loss of driver’s license.

Visit the N.C. DMV website for additional rules and regulations.


  • Emergencies – 911
  • Non-emergencies – 311

Power Outages

  • 800.Power.On

All Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Agencies

  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg government agencies include Animal Care and Control, Department of Social Services, Domestic Violence, Emergency Management, Fire Department, Health Department, Mental Health, Police Department and more.
  • – 311

Children & Family Services Center

  • The Children & Family Services Center is a highly efficient nine-agency source of assistance. The agencies at this central location collaborate with each other and with agencies throughout the county to offer comprehensive services.
  • – 704.943.9400

Crime Stoppers

Federal Bureau of Investigation

N.C. Highway Patrol

Poison Center

New residents must obtain animal licenses for their dogs, cats and ferrets within 30 days of establishing residency. All dogs, cats and ferrets more than four months old must be vaccinated for rabies, and proof of vaccination is required to purchase a license. License fees are discounted for pets that have been neutered or spayed, and a discount is available for senior citizens. Pet owners must keep pets on a leash or within a fence, and dog owners are required to clean up after their pets. More information is available at the Animal Control Website or by calling 311.

Humane Society of Charlotte


2700 Toomey Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28203
(704) 377-0534 – phone
(704) 332-8010 – fax

Spay/Neuter Clinic

2646 Toomey Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28203
(704) 333-4130 phone
(704) 333-6678- fax

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department Animal Care & Control

Visit CMPD Animal Care & Control Website


8315 Byrum Drive
Charlotte, NC 28217

Business Hours:
Monday-Friday – 11am-7pm
Saturday & Sunday – 11am-5pm

Local Phone – 311
Out of County – 704-336-7600

Air Transportation

Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Our airport provides nonstop service to 128 destinations, including 27 international destinations, to approximately 35 million passengers a year. The Wilson Air Center serves corporate and general aviation needs. The airport offers shuttle and taxi service, public transit service, courtesy vehicle pick-up for motels, hotels and rental cars.

Ground Transportation

For the most part, Charlotte was not built on a grid system, and several streets change names multiple times. A good street map is a vital tool for newcomers to the city. One is available by calling the chamber at 704.378.1300 or by visiting Info! Charlotte.

Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS)

The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) has an extensive transportation system in the Charlotte area. Local fare is just $1.50, while fares for express routes are $2.00 within the county and $3.00 to neighboring counties.

The LYNX Blue Line, Charlotte’s first light-rail transit system, extends from 7th Street in Center City Charlotte to I-485 at South Boulevard. Additional lines to Lake Norman, UNC Charlotte and the airport are planned for the future.

The Gold Rush, a free shuttle service, operates within the uptown area during weekday office hours.

While the entire fleet is wheelchair accessible, CATS Special Transportation Services provides additional services for those with certified disabilities. Visit the Web site or call for additional information.

Charlotte CURB IT!

Dial 311

Mecklenburg County Solid Waste and Recycling

Solid Waste and Recycling Website

Dial 311

BFI – Davidson


R.C.S. Inc – Mint Hill


Town of Matthews (in town limits)


Town of Pineville


Waste Management – Cornelius and Huntersville


The following companies provide residential recycling services for unincorporated areas of the county:

Allied Waste Services


Republic/GDS of Charlotte


Signature Waste Systems, Inc


Waste Management


Making arrangements for utility and other services for your new home is a fairly simple process. A letter of credit or information about your former utility services may help you avoid paying deposits.


Duke Energy

ElectriCities (parts of Cornelius and Huntersville)

EnergyUnited (parts of Cornelius)

Union Power Cooperative (serves several area counties)

Pineville Electric Company

Water and Sewer

Mecklenburg County
311 or 704.336.7600


Piedmont Natural Gas

PSNC Energy (Cornelius and Davidson)

Telephone – Internet – TV


Pineville Telephone Company

Time Warner Cable

Windstream (Matthews)

Mecklenburg County Board of Elections

You must be a resident for 30 days and must register to vote 30 days prior to the next election. North Carolina also provides for same-day registration during early voting, which typically is available for two weeks prior to an election.