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Politics
Here are some of the other stories catching our attention.

No Consensus From City Council On Raising Property Tax

After another meeting to discuss the budget proposed by Charlotte city manager Ron Carlee, no clear consensus exists among the city council about a core component of the proposal: to raise property taxes while lowering overall costs for most residents.

To close about a third of the $22 million hole in Charlotte’s budget, city manager Ron Carlee has proposed raising property taxes, by a bit under two cents. At the same time, the city would cut a trash fee. That trade-off would leave about 80 percent of residents actually paying less.

The extra revenue would come mostly from businesses, which don’t get a cut. Supporters argue that makes sense because state lawmakers eliminated a tax on businesses, which helped create the budget hole.

Republican Ed Driggs spoke against the plan.

“I think it’s perfectly reasonable, given that the cost of collection for each house is about the same, that we have at least one component of cost that is the same for each house,” said Driggs.

At least four council members—Driggs, fellow Republican Kenny Smith, and Democrats Claire Fallon and Patsy Kinsey—indicated they oppose the plan. It takes six for a majority.

The cost of trash is increasing, so no property tax swap likely means raising the fee, on all residents. Councilman David Howard said he didn’t understand the opposition’s logic.

“I guess I’m trying to figure out, is it the word tax?” Howard asked. “Because a fee has the same amount of effect as a tax.”

The city says the fee would have to go up about $13 for homeowners and $4 per each family in an apartment or condo to cover trash costs.

Carlee also now proposes the city also eliminate the trash fee for apartments or condos—a change from his original recommendation.

The city council will meet on Monday to discuss more amendments and decide what changes they will ultimately vote on. They won’t pass a final budget until June.