CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - This time last year Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said that tackling violent crime was one of her biggest priorities.
Fast forward to the end of 2021 and homicides are up and Covid-19 has dominated the public’s attention. But Charlotte City Council is not lowering the bar of what it hopes to accomplish in 2021.
“I think there are things that we have to plant seeds for now that we’ll start to see bear fruit, but really the impacts are further down the road,” Councilman Larken Egleston said.
Wednesday, Egleston announced he was running for re-election in 2021. It’s a ballot that could be full of some of the city’s top priorities.
“I think if voters can handle the ballot that was in front of them in 2020, they can certainly handle the ballot that will be in front of in 2021,” Egleston said.
That ballot could include a referendum on a one-cent sales tax to pay for a new mobility plan to reduce reliance on cars by making light rail, bus routes, greenways and sidewalks more plentiful and more accessible.
While aspects of the plan have received pushback from some members of council, Mayor Vi Lyles has announced her support.
“I think...a majority of the council probably believes that this mobility plan is something that’s really worth pursuing and could be worth the cost,” Egleston said.
Voters could also be deciding on whether to increase council term lengths from two to four years in a referendum. A governance committee also recommended introducing term limits, increasing council pay to match that of county commissioners and start exploring redistricting.
These items could end up on the ballot but to even get there council would need approval from the North Carolina General Assembly in the case of the sales tax and implementing term limits.
“I think it’s premature to say that any or any specific thing is definitively going to be on the ballot for voters in November, because there are other stakeholders involved here,” Egleston said.
Not to mention council is continuing to pursue affordable housing investments, violent crime interrupters and developments at the Old Eastland Mall site.
All the while elected officials like Egleston are seeking re-election.
“Frankly if voters think that we’re wildly off track on those being priorities for our city, they might not only vote those things down, they might punish us for putting those things forward,” Egleston said.
“But I think that’s a right that they have and I think by and large when people look into these issues, I think they’ll agree that there at least worth having the discussion on.”