CHARLOTTE -- The Charlotte City Council last week rejected a proposed $926 million capital improvement plan and the 8 percent property tax increase required to pay for it. Mayor Anthony Foxx sat down with media Wednesday to discuss his thoughts on the issue, which he says is weighing heavy on council members' minds.
Foxx said his goal is make sure the public knows how diligently the council is working on an acceptable budget. And while they do face major challenges, he's confident they'll get there.
He began the meeting with a photo of Charlotte taken in the 1970s followed by a current one showing decades of growth. He then broke down the items in the capital improvement project one-by-one, explaining why each is crucial for the city's future in terms of public safety, job growth, transportation and infrastructure.
Foxx said making these investments is critical for the city, but trimming the budget is the task at hand for council members, three of whom said earlier this week that cutting the largest capital item, a $119 million streetcar extension, would be the best option.
When asked what he would cut, Foxx said he would start in the out years and begin backing out projects in reverse order. But through his frustrations, the mayor is remaining optimistic.
“I strongly believe the glass is half-full. This is not a parade of horribles, this is what I think are the challenges that are upon us right now, and had they been addressed in a more significant way, at earlier times, perhaps we wouldn't be talking about it right now,” he said.
If the council can't approve a budget by next week, an interim budget would go into effect.