City Council suggests paid family leave, youth diversion program for city budget

- Charlotte City Council discussed Wednesday how your tax dollars should be spent within the new city budget. It was the first meeting by council about any possible additions or changes since a public hearing about the budget was held on Monday.

It was a more than two and a half hour discussion Wednesday by city council on how City of Charlotte residents tax dollars could be spent. Just about everything you can think of was discussed.

"When they come back with information I would like an update on the goal of saving our tree canopy," said one council member.

Council gave their recommendations on what they'd like to see added to the city budget. Among the possibilities: more money for additional code enforcement officers, paid family leave for city employees and a CMPD diversion program for at risk youth through the YMCA.

"A lot of community work has been done but CMPD cannot reach these kids that they feel they need to reach the most," said Council Member Julie Eiselt.

On Monday, officers who are members of the Fraternal Order of Police asked city council for better pay and benefits. While there was little discussion among council Wednesday about those demands, paid family leave would apply to CMPD employees.

Right now, the budget is balanced, but any additions will force some movement.

"There are very modest adjustments to be made. I think it's in the realm of possibilities that a lot of them can be done," Council Member Gregory Phipps.

Even with changes, the new budget comes without a property tax increase. A final vote on the budget is expected next month.

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