CHARLOTTE – A deadline came and went Monday afternoon with only three of 11 members of the Charlotte City Council officially offering ideas about how to trim the budget. The most common suggestion is to cut the streetcar extension.
If the council can't approve a budget next week, it will have to approve a one month interim budget to keep city services like police, fire and trash pickup afloat, a move the city manager said hasn't been made in decades.
Last week, the council rejected a proposed $926 million capital improvement plan and the 8 percent property tax increase required to pay for it, so it had a deadline of Monday at noon to bring forth new ideas.
City staff said just three council members – Democrats Michael Barnes, Claire Fallon and Beth Pickering -- came back with capital projects they could live with cutting. All three said they would drop the biggest proposed capital item, a $119 million streetcar extension from uptown into west Charlotte.
If the three members can get at least three others to approve their reduction ideas, about two thirds of the original capital plan would still move forward. However, the city tax increase would be reduced and be about the same as the Mecklenburg County tax decrease approved this month by commissioners.
Last week, Republican council members Andy Dulin and Warren Cooksey said on the record they would take out the projects in their districts - 6 and 7.
The deadline to approve a budget is a week from Friday. Council members are scheduled to vote on the budget June 25.