City workers, residents voice concerns over 2024-2025 budget at council meeting

CHARLOTTE — A new year means a new budget.

While Charlotte officials work to flesh out the funds, which could include a property tax increase, members of the public are voicing their thoughts on where they want the money to go.

Some of those voices include those of city employees who gathered in Uptown on Monday night and marched to the government center to advocate for raises. But others in Queen City believe the money should be spent elsewhere.

Kass Ottley, a community organizer with Charlotte City workers, says even with full-time jobs, current wages are just not making ends meet.

“We have workers here that are homeless; we have workers that work for the city that have to rely on other organizations to have food to pay their bills,” she said.

Members of the Charlotte City Workers Union and the People’s Budget Coalition filled the council’s chambers, sharing thoughts on how they want the city to spend its tax dollars.

The 2024–2025 fiscal year budget proposal includes bumping up Charlotte’s full-time minimum wage to $23 per hour; Ottley says she would like to see it increase to $25 an hour.

“It’s all intersectional, you know; when people are paid better, you know, you have less crime in the city.”

Rodney McGill is the president of Save Our Children Movement Inc., and he believes funding should go to preventing youth violence, an issue that seems to be growing in our city.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; you heard it before,” he said.

While many voiced changes they’d like to see in the budget, others praised the council for including $100 million towards affordable housing in the current proposal.

“Of course, housing for currently homeless individuals is not the only issue in this; housing costs have risen everywhere in our city,” Emily Hartner, pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, said. “People are consistently being priced out in our beautiful city.”

Ottley believes every Charlottean needs to come together to make the city a better place for everyone.

“We need to not be focused on ourselves, because if one person is suffering in the city, we’re all suffering,” she said.

(WATCH BELOW: New fiscal year budget could bring parking changes throughout Charlotte)

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