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Charlotte City Council passes 2023 budget

This means city employees get a pay raise and no tax increase, but citizens will pay for Saturday hourly parking.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte City Council has voted to pass the $3.24 billion 2023 fiscal year budget, which will mean no tax increase for residents and a boost in pay to city employees.

While citizens won't see a bump on their taxes, there will be changes to parking in South End and uptown. Chiefly, hourly parking rates in both areas will go up by 50 cents, and drivers will now need to pay to park on Saturdays.

Along with those items, the budget also includes money to electrify city vehicles.

The city government's Twitter account noted the council voted unanimously to adopt the budget, and said the budget also would not lay off or furlough employees.

Beyond budgets, the council discussed developments, including the one at Eastland Mall.

The land was closed down back in March in efforts of bringing things like mixed-income housing, a park, and greenways. The $26 million project would also bring a full-service grocery store and entertainment venues.

Council voted unanimously to authorize the private sale of parcels of the property.

"This is one step closer to Eastland being redeveloped," City Council member Dimple Ajmera said. "I know this is going to be a catalyst, not just for the east side but for our entire region that's going to bring jobs and opportunities, an area that's been left undeveloped for [a] decade." 

RELATED: Mecklenburg County commissioners vote to give tax breaks for Eastland redevelopment site

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The city also discussed the Gold Line Phase 3 designs. Phase 3 of the project runs east to west between Sunnyside Avenue and French Street. Crews have been working and testing streetcars before opening the route up to the public for months.

In Phase 3, the entire gold line would stretch for 10 miles from Rosa Parks Place Transit Center through uptown ending at Eastland Transit Center. Phase 2 was about $150 million, and more funding will be needed for Phase 3. And as Charlotte grows, the future of transportation is a top priority. 

City Council ultimately decided to defer the discussion on Phase 3 for a later meeting.

RELATED: City of Charlotte looking to expand the Gold Line. But there could be trouble on the tracks

The city hosted a public feedback meeting Tuesday to discuss The Strategic Mobility Plan, detailing efforts to make moving around the city safe and equitable. It's part of The Charlotte Future 2040 Plan. 

“How do you get from work to home, how do you get to the daily needs you have, to school," Ed McKinney, Deputy Director Charlotte Department of Transportation, said.

Part of the ambitious goal is to reduce the number of trips made in a car by 50% in the next 18 years. 

“Cities around our country that are doing the same thing, that are achieving the same goals that we are putting in place, so we have peers that show us the way it’s possible," McKinney said. 

But it poses a big question: Can people change their habits?

“I never use the light rail," South End homeowner Jeff LaCoste said.

LaCoste doesn't think it's possible, just yet. 

“If I’m going to Uptown I drive and I park on streets that I know are open and free just because it’s easier to park there and then I can walk around then drive home," LaCoste said. "For me, that’s easier, that’s what I’m in the habit of doing and it's going to take city changes, to change that habit.”   

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To change that habit, the city plans to add other forms of transportation, so people can walk, bike, and use public transit. 

The city is promoting other forms of travel as road construction has limits. 

“We’ve realized we can't do it by just investing in cars, the amount of money that it takes, the space that’s needed, it's just impossible for us to build enough, so we have to invest in different ways," McKinney said. 

McKinney said Charlotte City Council is looking to invest more money into mobility for the proposed budget. 

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