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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
Charlotte City Attorney, Bob Hagemann, is figuring out if city council is doing the right thing when going after funding for the streetcar project.
Back in 1999 the Transit Governance Interlocal Agreement was signed by local mayors who make up the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC).
One section of that agreement reads the city must go through the MTC before going after state and federal transit grants or any other transit appropriations.
"That could mean anything in the way of property taxes," Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon said. "Sales tax, any other ideas that may be out there. I just want to make sure it goes through the proper process."
Charlotte could increase taxes to help pay for the streetcar. Cannon is also troubled by what Hagemann told city council at a recent retreat.
"The city attorney clearly suggested we may be in breach of the contract," Cannon said. "Key word being may."
Cannon claims the city has not gone to MTC and talked about funding for the streetcar and says taxpayers should be concerned if leaders aren't following the rules.
"One thing you don't want to do is violate the process," Cannon said. "The taxpayers at the end of the day could be held liable for it. You don't want to accept grants ahead of time if you were not supposed to accept grants when it should have gone through another approval process. This is very important."
This is all a matter of interpretation. Cannon requested Hagemann to give his opinion and the attorney says he will hand deliver a written copy of what he thinks about the agreement at council's Monday night meeting.