Charlotte Voters To Decide on $200 Million Dollars In City Improvements
CHARLOTTE, NC – Charlotte voters won’t only be deciding on candidates this election season, but also nearly $200 million dollars in city improvement bonds.
The three separate referendums impact affordable housing, transportation, and neighborhoods. They won’t include a tax increase.
“We’re trying to not even really get ahead of the congestion, but we’re just trying to keep up with the growth of this community,” said Ely Portillo, the Assistant Director at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute.
He says every two years since 2014, voters have approved capital improvement bonds.
The money has created the cross city greenway, affordable housing developments like Tall Oaks in the Cherry neighborhood, and sidewalk construction.
“A lot of that money has been allocated. A lot of it has been spent and if it hasn’t been it’s been spoken for,” said Portillo.
The latest three bond measures will be decided on Tuesday. They are:
$102 Million for Transportation
$50 Million for Affordable Housing
$44.5 Million for Neighborhood Improvements
“There will not be a tax increase at all. It’s already embedded in the city budget,” said Malcolm Graham, the District two Councilman.
Graham represents parts of West Charlotte. He says better pedestrian access, more bike lanes, traffic improvements, and affordable housing are essential as the city grows.
“All those are really important to help build a city that is better tomorrow than it is today,” said Graham.
When it comes to affordable housing, Portillo says, there is a constant struggle that even well funded bonds can’t resolve.
“One of the problems we have in Charlotte is that as we subsidize new affordable housing, we’re losing a lot of the units that we already have,” said Portillo.
Older apartments and houses are being torn down and turned into new luxury living.
According to city data there is a shortage of roughly 34,000 affordable housing units.
Which has some wondering if the bonds go far enough.
“Are we looking at getting ahead of some of these problems or are we just trying to tread water and not lose ground,” said Portillo.
The transportation bond will also fund turn lanes on Monroe road, pedestrian access to rail lines, new sidewalks and the extension of Bryan Farms Road in Ballantyne.
As for the neighborhood improvements bond. It includes better lighting, sidewalks, and drainage in areas like Beatties Ford Road, Central Avenue, Freedom Drive, and North Tryon Street.