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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
Charlotte City Council members spent their lunch hour trying to come up with a new budget Thursday but attempts to reach a compromise failed.
Members of the budget committee were discussing ideas for how to get a budget passed for the 2013 fiscal year, which starts July 1.
The meeting was planned after city council shocked the public by voting down City Manager Curt Walton's proposed $926 million budget Monday night in a 6-5 vote.
By law, the city must have a budget in place on June 30.
The frustration city officials feel is obvious as they try to piece together a budget that will pass a council-wide vote.
"I don't even know if I ever want to run again," said Councilwoman Claire Fallon, a Democrat.
District 4 Councilman Michael Barnes, a Democrat, recommended a lower tax rate than City Manager Curt Walton's proposed 8 percent hike.
Republican Andy Dulin, who represents district 6, says the city should not be raising taxes at all.
Barnes supported raising the property tax rate 2.5 percent. The property tax rate in Charlotte is 43.7 percent per $100 of taxable value.
The lower tax rate hike would eliminate the $119 million proposed to extend the city's streetcar line from time Warner Cable Arena out to Johnson C. Smith University.
"The last thing we need is a tinker toy running up and down the street," Cannon said.
But that didn't settle well with District 1 Councilwoman Patsy Kinsey who said the streetcar would take buses and traffic off the streets, especially Central Avenue, which runs through the heart of her district.
Other projects that seemed in jeopardy include some roadway and infrastructure improvements in low income areas and a planned maintenance facility for the city's transportation department.
Also unclear is whether money will be put in for the Lynx Blue Line Extension.
The NC Senate removed the state's contribution to the project from their proposed budget.
The extension would run the light rail another 9 miles from uptown out to the campus of UNC Charlotte.
The $1.16 billion project was to be paid for by the federal government, NCDOT and the city.
A spokesman for NCDOT said without the money in the state budget there is nothing they can do from their end.
So why didn't they all hash this out earlier when they were all together?
"I have no idea," said Budget Committee Chair Michael Barnes.
In an effort to reduce taxes, Barnes asked each council member to come up with an infrastructure project they could cut by noon on Monday. Andy Dulin is willing to give up one in his district, but that's not where the big-ticket spending is planned.
"It's really not much of a compromise for us to give up nothing," Dulin said. "So it's going to be up to the nine Democrats on the Charlotte City Council to figure out what they can do and whether they're willing to hold the line at zero tax increase."
Democrat LaWana Mayfield said she'd try to come up with something to eliminate from her district, where there are big ticket projects, but Dulin doesn't think Democrats will come up with enough. "And there will be a tax increase of some sort," he said.
Republican Warren Cooksey says the problem is that the council is approaching the budget all wrong.
"When you go out to buy a house, first you determine how much house you can afford, and then you go out looking for a house with that amount of money," he said.
He says so far, Council has come up with projects they want, but they haven't determined what taxpayers can afford.
"That is the passion of public service," Barnes said. "People disagree, they get upset, but we figure out how to move on for the benefit of Charlotte."
Mayor Anthony Foxx was not present at the meeting as he was attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Orlando, Florida.