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Mecklenburg County commissioners approve budget despite opposition

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CHARLOTTE -- Mecklenburg County commissioners approved their budget on Tuesday despite strong opposition from board Republicans.

The spending plan includes a $2.35 county property tax increase. That's the first such tax hike for the county in five years.

A narrow majority on the board passed the budget Tuesday night.

It includes more money for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Central Piedmont Community College but also an increase in taxes to pay for that and other services..

The nearly $1.7 billion total budget includes a two percent raise for eligible county employees.

The spending plan also provides more than $19 million in new funding for CMS next year.

Last week, commissioners whittled down some spending and the overall tax increase.

But the board's Republicans say they're upset the budget includes “any” tax hike.

They proposed a plan - which was rejected - that would have kept the county tax rate the same by cutting some vehicle maintenance funds and pulling money from the county's savings account.

"Your proposal is that we go further behind, as if somehow that will make the problem better," said Trevor Fuller, Mecklenburg County Commission.

"The necessities are all going up. This is an opportunity to say, 'We're going to provide a little bit of relief, if it's just for one year, it's just for one year, but we're going to take this year off from raising taxes," said Matthew Ridenhour, Mecklenburg County Commission.

The county property tax increase on top of a City of Charlotte tax increase means a $200,000 homeowner in the Queen City will soon have to pay a combined $110 more a year. ClientIP: UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP