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Charlotte Area

Expensive Decisions For City Council Tonight

The Charlotte City Council faces two significant financial decisions at its 7 p.m. meeting. Next year's budget is on the agenda for final approval: most notably, the council must decide whether or not to raise the property tax rate by 3.6 cents. They've been wrestling with the decision for two months and several council members are still uneasy about the size - and timing - of the infrastructure improvement package, which the tax increase would fund. Over the next seven years, the city would spend $926 million trying to boost property values and attract development to areas north, east and west of Uptown Charlotte. Also on tonight's agenda is a decision about Knight's Baseball. That city council has put this vote off several times, worried how it might look to spend millions of dollars on a private baseball stadium at the same time they're raising taxes. The Charlotte Knights originally wanted $11 million from the city to help with construction of the $54 million stadium Uptown. The city has negotiated its contribution down to $8 million and a majority of council members were willing to support the stadium at their last meeting two weeks ago. They can't delay the decision any further, because the Knights need to have their financing plans in place by the end of the month. If the vote is "No," Knights General Manager Dan Rajkowski says the team can't build a new stadium Uptown and will stay in Fort Mill "for the time being."