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Local News

Charlotte City Council Punts Back To Carlee On Budget

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Charlotte’s City Council appears no closer to a consensus on how to fill a hole in the city’s budget deeper than in any year of the recession. City Manager Ron Carlee has proposed a complex mix of expense cuts and fee increases. But a key part of his plan hinges on raising property taxes while lowering a garbage fee that homeowners pay—it’s a complex scheme that hasn’t gained traction with the city council. The council once again debated that and other parts of Carlee’s plan Monday for more than an hour without obvious progress. Mayor Dan Clodfelter called a halt.

“This is the way you’ve done business on your budgets in the past,” Carlee said. “Well, if these things are—and I’m hearing you all saying it—so tightly woven together, you’re going to need a different process to get to your budget recommendation.”

Clodfelter asked the city manager to come back with several alternative budgets. New versions could forego the property tax plan and raises for city staff, and include lower fees on developers as well as larger cuts to city staff. Carlee says he can have those ready for council members in three days. The council is supposed to vote on amendments to his budget next Tuesday.

The council did vote on what proposals Carlee should not consider. Those include:

  • Proposals to defund the city’s street car project
  • Reducing funding for the Arts and Science Council, by 10 percent more than Carlee recommended.
  • Eliminating the Economic Opportunity Task Force
  • A plan to further reduce the City Council’s travel budget to $5,000 per member.
  • To remove Carlee’s proposal to increase stormwater services fees on the heaviest users.