• City Council holds straw vote on controversial budget issues

    By: Jim Bradley


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte City leaders are close to finalizing a $2 billion budget and the city could take more money out of taxpayers’ pockets.
    But Eyewitness News reporter Jim Bradley found out there's one bill where homeowner's won't see an increase.
    After a nearly 8 percent property tax hike in 2013, Wednesday’s votes by city council should feel pretty good for taxpayers in Charlotte.
    City leaders took straw votes on a number of controversial issues in the budget.
    One of the items council members gave tentative approval to add $75,000 to the budget of the Film Commission. 
    That's contingent on the state continuing its tax incentives for the film industry.
    The city also appeared to be heading toward raising water and sewer rates by 3 percent and increasing city stormwater fees by 3 percent as well. 
    The city said that's an increase of less than $25 a year for an average user.
    The property tax rate is expected to remain flat. 
    Mayor Dan Clodfelter said that stability is good for the city and taxpayers.

    “We need to keep tax rates stable for planning purposes and that's pretty important,” Clodfelter said. “Fortunately we were helped by the return of the economy. Sales tax growth is pretty strong this year.”
    The city said it does have a contingency plan in place in case the state cuts the business privilege tax that brings in millions to the city.
    It could include a hiring freeze but that's not expected.

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