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'Mayor, council, it's your budget.' | $2.7 billion budget proposed in Charlotte

City Manager Marcus Jones calls it a balanced budget. But what will it cost you, and what will your hard earned money be spent on?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte City Manager Marcus Jones unveiled a $2.7 billion proposed budget to council members that includes more money for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, a new way to fund the arts, and a funding increase to stop violent crime. 

The proposed budget will not increase property taxes, according to Jones. However, your monthly fees for a few things would rise if the budget is passed. 

Your water bill would increase by 3.4%, costing you roughly $2.30 extra per month. Solid waste fees would rise about 61 cents a month, and your stormwater services fee would rise by about 30 cents a month. 

CMPD would receive more than 40% of the general fund expenses, totaling a little more than $300 million, which is a 3.7% increase from the FY21 budget. 

A majority of the extra money would be spent on fixed raises for salaries, rent, and maintenance. No new officers will be added under the new budget. $739,000 of the money would help double the number of Community Policing Crisis Response Teams in the city, according to Jones. 

On Friday, the city awarded 17 Charlotte-based non-profits $50,000 grants each to help fight violence in the city as part of the Safe Communities initiative. 

In FY22, the city would give another $1 million in new funding to non-profits addressing violence. 

$1.2 million would go towards the launch of a new program that would train civilians to respond to low-risk, lower-priority calls for service and mental health. 

Jones's team also placed $14 million of the budget towards the city's Corridors of Opportunity to help support housing, keeping residents in their homes and protecting them from gentrification. It would also go towards job and economic development opportunities in the corridors. 

The city would also scrap its plans to build a Joint Communications Center for first responders. The city has already spent $14.5 million on the project that it's now killed, according to Jones. 

The rest of the money that would have gone to that project is now slated to go towards new buildings for the fire department, completion of the Cross Charlotte Trail, and the city's sustainability goals, according to Jones. 

Under the proposed budget, the city would no longer fund the arts through the Arts and Science Council. Instead, the city would give $6 million to arts programs and that would be matched by the private sector. 

The new funding model would create $36 million over three years for the arts, giving the city time to come up with a long-term plan for funding the arts, Jones said. 

Jones would also like the council to ask residents to approve another $50 million bond for affordable housing in 2022. 

City workers would also be able to get a 3% salary raise under the proposed budget, and no city worker would make less than $38,090 per year, which is 60% of the median household income in Charlotte. 

City Council will hold a public hearing on the budget on May 10, and likely vote on the budget by June 14, according to Mayor Lyles. 

Contact Hunter Sáenz at hsaenz@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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