CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- After six months of planning, Charlotte City Council approved a $2.6 billion operating budget for 2019.

“I think this budget reflects the fact that we are trying to give people more access to opportunity,” said Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt.

Here are the big takeaways:

  • A one cent property tax hike, about 83 cents a month for a home valued at 100 thousand dollars.
  • Pay raises for the city’s police officers and firefighters, and the addition of six police stations and one fire station.
  • Increased funding to create affordable housing.
  • Doubled funding for streets, sidewalks, and pedestrian safety.

“You can always look at where people’s priorities are by where they’re spending their money,” Councilman Justin Harlow explained.

The council members overwhelmingly viewed this vote as a victory, saying they are proud to take a bold stance on the issues Charlotteans face every day.

Still, not everyone supports the property tax hike, arguing more cuts should have been made.

“I can’t accept the fact that a tax increase is necessary in order for us to continue to provide city services at a time when the economy is booming,” Councilman Edmund Driggs said.

Council members also approved another major project: The South End Rail Trail. The goal is to make South End more walkable and provide diverse housing for all ages and socioeconomic levels.

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