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Politics
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Busy Night Ahead For Charlotte City Council

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Michael Tomsic

Charlotte’s city council has a full docket this evening at one of its few summer meetings. Council members will consider spending millions on sports and economic development deals.

This is the only city council meeting in a two-month span, with elections looming in September.

Items of interest include:

NBA All-Star Game: Charlotte won the right to host the 2017 game, and now it has to pay for it. The city council will vote on whether to cover more than $3 million of the estimated $6 million cost. The money largely comes from tourism funds and hospitality taxes. The Hornets have agreed to chip in $1.5 million. The rest, the city hopes, will come from Mecklenburg County or state coffers.

Bank of America stadium: Another $23 million will go to upgrading the stadium. It’s the second of three installments, which the city agreed to provide in 2013 to keep the Panthers housed there. The city’s food and drink tax and hotel tax pay for it.

Economic development grant: The council will also formally approve $7 million in tax breaks to draw financial company Dimensional Fund Advisors to the city. That supplements $10 million from the state. The company in return promises to open an East Coast headquarters with average salaries approaching $150,000.

Airport recycling woes: After failing to achieve profitability under two regimes, the airport has stopped its ambitious recycling program. The city council will vote on whether to approve a one-year contract with the temporary contractor, which does not use the plant.

Benefits for same-sex couples: Now that the Supreme Court has approved marriage for same-sex couples, the city council will do away with benefits it has provided to same-sex domestic partners since 2013. The city’s memo explains the change: “With the recent ruling, same-sex couples now have the option of legally-recognized marriage; therefore, this change will treat both same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples the same.”

More toll lanes: Council members will hear a briefing on plans for toll lanes on U.S. 74 and I-485.