Council passes budget, water rates to increase - | WBTV Charlotte

Council passes budget, water rates to increase

People in Charlotte will soon pay higher water bills.

Monday evening, the City Council approved a $2.1 billion budget that includes a monthly increase in water and sewer fees.

The budget passed, but not without two council member's voicing their concerns about the hike, which will cost the average homeowner about two dollars more per month.

"I ran for office because I was tired of the government nickel and diming me at every turn," Councilman Kenny Smith said. 

Two dollars is too much for Smith and fellow Republican Ed Driggs, the only two to vote against the budget. 

"Even when the government doesn't raise taxes, it's very good at raising fees. This is the fifth straight year we've raised water and storm water fees," Smith said. 

However, six of their counterparts decided the water rate increase is necessary. 

"I think we're all tired of raising those rates as well. But we're also having to deal with the growth that has occurred in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County," Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Barnes said. 

But there is a silver lining for homeowners in the city. Property taxes will not be going up. 

"We were able to come into balance without a property tax increase, because we had a very robust growth in our sales tax collections," Mayor Clodfelter said.

Revenue from the sales tax jumped nearly eight percent last year. However, some council members worry that increase may be short lived. 

"My concern isn't that this is a bad budget, I am concerned that it stretches us and leaves us without a lot of flexibility," Driggs said. 

This budget also approved an increase in a bus and train ticket from $2.00 to $2.20.

Three council members were not present for tonight's vote. 

Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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