, the board of commissioners listened to the proposal by Commissioner Elaine Powell, asking for a feasibility study to understand urban needs and the future purchase of land. This study may result in a proposal to raise local taxes, this created an exchange between citizens and commissioners.
The Charlotte area is considered one of the cities with the most urban growth in the United States. In recent years Charlotte has become the destination of many workers looking for new opportunities with a pleasant climate. Between and , 68 of the growth is due to domestic migration; calculating that about 60 people move to Charlotte daily. The growth is high, projections cite an increase of more than 200 thousand people between to according to the report Community Pulse de Mecklenburg County.
At this time, the housing inventory is not enough for low-income communities, there is a deficit in the market of 34,000 affordable housing units based on the report for Affordable Housing Overview. The board of commissioners of Mecklenburg County, are the regulators of public spaces such as parks, schools, land for storm water and affordable housing, for which they have to make the right decisions. Commissioner Elaine Powell open her remarks saying
I feel like I am swimming in a wave of needs and concerns, our people trust in our ability to supply their needs. I think we should be proactive and not pay a high price for inertia.
The application requires the county to study future land claims for schools, parks and affordable housing. This includes an urgent call to plan strategic growth so that its inhabitants have places to live, work and recreate. This study includes an in-depth analysis of the costs, which can add up to a minimum of 300,000 million, paid with additional taxes.
In the auditorium, banners read
We need a place to live and other groups like Carolina Jews For Justice (CJJ) of Charlotte and Reentry Housing Alliance expressed their support. Janet Ganoung, co-founder of CJJ, said
we are interested in ensuring future options for low-income communities.
Steve Cohen, a social activist presented statistics on the lack of affordable housing in different geographic areas of Charlotte, he said,
It will be tragic for the county to act timidly in raising the funds.
The Cost of Housing
Currently, 46 of Charlotte residents pay rents that exceed 30 of their monthly income based on the report of Housing Stability. And the figures continue to grow, today there are 80,000 families with incomes under 15,000 per year, according to the report The State of Housing in Charlotte Report, .
The average rent has changed drastically, there are no low-priced homes, families are beginning to move to areas suburban, but they cannot find housing either. Poverty spreads across Mecklenburg by Charlotte Observer, .
Commissioner Pat Cotham expressed in this public forum that she could not support this petition that seeks to increase taxes on the population, she said
We promised the voters in that we were not going to ask for more bonds for 5 years, our word has to mean something.
Commissioner Mark Jerrel, expressed
this study will bring information and data to inform any future resolution, the study should benefit everyone and not add cost to low income communities.
The chair of the board, Commissioner George Dunlap, recalled that this petition is intended to obtain information and does not mean that there will be an immediate monetary request. He shared the request could be presented to the community in the next 3 years or more.
The final vote of 6-2 confirmed the study.