City passes operating budget, property taxes to stay the same | Politics
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV)- Charlotte City Council members voted 7-4 Monday night to approve a $1.1 billion operating budget, but killed a $926 million capital improvement plan.
It comes after weeks of tension between council members over which projects to keep in the capital improvement plan. Had it passed, your property taxes would have increased. The money would have paid for road and revitalization projects. It would have also funded $119 million for a streetcar transit system.
"I'm very unhappy. There was no reason for that," said Councilwoman Claire Fallon.
Council members met for a special session early Monday afternoon, and talked about the budget for almost 6 hours.
"That's just not a way to build a budget, so perhaps with a little more focus and now that everyone is awake we can spend sometime working through the issues," said Mayor Anthony Foxx.
The $1.1 billion operating budget includes money for raises and other annual expenses. City employees in same sex relationships will be able to extend benefits to their partners, the first time in Charlotte history.
"I think it's an excellent year for the city council to have no tax increase," said Councilman Andy Dulin.
Foxx, a big proponent of the capital plan, said Tuesday that he was actually glad it didn't pass, given the circumstances.
"The goal of raising taxes ought to be very clear," he said. "You ought to have a very clear target, and you ought to have reasonably good chances of meeting that target."
He said the CIP was weakened by chipping away at it. "I felt the house of cards would not hold up, and I can't go to taxpayers and explain to them why their taxes are higher if I don't feel like we can deliver the results we promised," Foxx said.
But he also said he isn't giving up on a transformative program for the city.
It likely won't pass next year either, however. 2013 is an election year, when spending becomes a political hot potato.
"It's going to take courage to do it," Foxx said.
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