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Charlotte Area

Council Rejects Property Tax Hike

In a dramatic upset Monday night, the Charlotte City Council rejected a property tax increase and upended the city's entire budget process. Council voted 6 to 5 against raising property taxes by 8% to fund $926 million in infrastructure projects. The vote took several council members and Mayor Anthony Foxx by surprise. "What has just been done tonight is perhaps the most irresponsible decision I've seen the city council make in history," said Foxx. Newcomers to the council - Democrats Claire Fallon and Beth Pickering - voted against the tax increase. "After much soul searching, I'm not able to raise taxes at this time," said Pickering, "I just think it's a terrible time." Democrat Michael Barnes also voted against the proposal. His Northeast Charlotte district in the University area stood to receive nearly 25 percent of the $926 million the tax hike would have generated. Other "no" votes were Republicans Andy Dulin and Warren Cooksey, and Democrat Patrick Cannon. In defeating the infrastructure improvement plan, council members also rejected the city's proposed operating budget for 2013. They will now spend the next two weeks coming up with a budget that includes a smaller tax increase, or none at all. The council will next vote on its budget June 25 - just days before the June 30th deadline by which the city is legally required to adopt a budget for the next fiscal year.