CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte City Council rejected a proposal Wednesday to eliminate an 8 percent property tax increase in the annual budget.
And with the failed vote by Republicans Andy Dulin and Warren Cooksey, the council officially put their support behind a nearly $1 billion capital plan, and with it the Queen City's first property tax increase in six years.
The tax increase for the owner of a $200,000 property would be $72 a year.
"They pay taxes and they are entitled to have the taxes used to improve the areas here," said Democrat Claire Fallon.
The capital plan would be spread out across the next decade with neighborhood revitalization, the improvement of certain intersections and the acceleration of certain transit projects like the streetcar.
"What we are trying to do is get ahead of Charlotte becoming a city where there is only one nice part of the city, otherwise there is decay, dilapidation," Michael Barnes, a Democrat, said.
But Cooksey and Dulin believed the capital plan should be put on hold, until city staff looks into other ways to help pay for the projects and lessen the tax burden.
"Now is the time for us to be those leaders and say, 'look, lets put it off, let's continue to study,'” said Dulin.
City Manager Curt Walton disputed Cooksey's claim the capital plan isn't thought out enough or won't significantly improve struggling sections of Charlotte.
"Anybody could have chosen to come by at any point and see the mountain of data that led to this $926 million proposal,” Walton said.
Once the council votes to finalize the budget June 11, it'll then be up to voters this November to decide on whether or not to fund the first batch of capital projects.
Click here to learn more about which Charlotte improvement projects are planned and in which section of the city.