Charlotte City Council retreat cost: $33,079

sharrison@charlotteobserver.comJanuary 31, 2014 

The city of Charlotte’s two-day budget retreat in Winston-Salem this week cost $33,079, slightly less than last year’s local meeting at Whitehead Manor.

The city has traditionally held a two-day team-building and planning retreat in January or February to start the budget process for the upcoming year. Last year’s in-city retreat cost $33,378.

This year’s meeting, at Graylyn International Conference Center, started Wednesday afternoon and ended Friday.

The meeting focused on the budget outlook for fiscal year 2015, which starts in July.

The outlook includes a 1.7 percent property tax rate increase. That money would be used to fill what’s expected to be a $4.8 million loss in revenue due to changes in Mecklenburg County’s flawed 2011 property revaluation.

City Manager Ron Carlee said he hasn’t decided whether to recommend a tax rate increase. He said he needs more information from the county on how the revaluation is faring.

Carlee will formally present his budget May 5.

City staff discussed the possibility of a 3 percent raise pool for city employees; increasing the street resurfacing budget; adding two fire ladder companies to the Northlake and Eastland mall areas; and adding more money to plant trees to add to the city’s tree canopy.

Council members and city staff also discussed their priorities for the city’s focus areas: economic development; housing and neighborhood development; environment; community safety; and transportation.

Harrison: 704-358-5160

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