The Charlotte City Council held a public hearing Monday for its budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
The proposed budget would have a revenue-neutral property tax rate, which means the city would generate about the same amount of money from taxes as it did a year ago.
The budget would increase the minimum hourly wage for all full-time city employees from $15 an hour to $16 an hour. Council members are trying to increase the pay of its lowest-paid employees.
Craig Brown works for Charlotte Water and is a 14-year veteran. He praised the budget for raising pay, but said he and other employees would still find it difficult to live in the city.
"Myself personally just had a rent increase of $125 per month," he said. "That alone will eat up 75 percent of my wages."
Light-rail mechanic Kris Barrows said Charlotte is a 24/7 city, and CATS has trouble retaining employees who work on weekends and in the middle of the night. He said the city needs to pay those employees more.
"These are industry standards," Barrows said. "I don’t think I’m asking for anything that’s way out of bounds. We have to give up time with our families and our loved ones to make sure that the wheels keep rolling, to make sure our city streets are safe, to make sure you can flush your toilet at two in the morning and it has somewhere to go."
The budget would increase the city’s general fund by nearly 5 percent, to $727.7 million. It includes more money for affordable housing and speed up construction of the most of the Cross Charlotte Trail.
Council members are scheduled to vote on the budget June 10.