City Council Adopts 2017 Budget with Higher Regulatory Fees, But No Reduction in Solid Waste Service
The Charlotte City Council tonight adopted a $2.45 billion operating and capital budget for FY 2017, which begins July 1. The budget includes NO property tax increase, while adding more than 100 new police officers and firefighters, and allocating funds for the purchase of a new ladder truck to serve the Northlake Mall area.
The most controversial topic in the Council’s budget discussions was a proposal to eliminate trash collection for apartment communities, which would have resulted in significant cost increases for rental households across the City. But pushback from REBIC, the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association, and other community groups ensured all city residents will continue to receive trash service for the immediate future, for an annual increase of only $8 per year for each single-family home or multifamily unit. Instead, Council will conduct an comprehensive revaluation of its solid waste services policy over the next 12 months.
REBIC supports the nominal trash collection fee increase as a workable solution to avoid critical service cuts to residents.
Water and sewer rates will also increase by an average of $2.50 per month for each household, to pay for much-needed infrastructure repairs across the City.
The budget also decreases the general fund subsidy for regulatory user fees from 7.6% to 5.2%, resulting in some modest increases in land development and rezoning fees. REBIC worked with City staff to limit the impact of these increases, which were the result of a Council policy adopted in 2007 to fully fund land development, planning and other regulatory services through user fees.
The increased fees will fund two additional positions each in Land Development, Planning and Fire Inspections, to handle the 38% increase in plan submittals the City has seen over the past year. Plan review and inspection fees charged by Charlotte Water will also increase gradually over the next two years, until reaching full cost recovery in FY 2018.
Some fees will actually decrease beginning July 1, including Major Commercial Subdivision Review, Residential Tree Ordinance Review and Sketch Plan Review. You can download the full Regulatory User Fee schedule here.
REBIC thanks City staff and Council members for working with us to address the issues and concerns raised by the development industry in this year’s budget process.