Whether you’re a an Asheville developer, a homeowner using water or dead and ready to be buried in Riverside Cemetery, the cost of living (and dying) in Asheville is going up.
Wednesday, July 1, starts the new fiscal year for local government. After facing an initial budget shortfall of more than $5 million, Asheville City Council put together a spending plan that holds the line on property taxes while maintaining core services. How did Council do it? In general, the strategy was to cut some city positions, put off spending on capital projects, freeze city workers’ salaries, slash overtime spending and raise fees.
Those fees are where the taxpaying public will feel the budget’s impact the most. Though most increases are small, they do add up. Here’s a quick look:
• The cost for recycling in the city goes from $1.32 a household per month to $2.95. The charge for a garbage container picked up by one of the city’s trucks with an automated arm goes from $3.50 per container per month to $3.80.
• The rates for all water users in the city are going up. The residential charge for every hundred cubic feet of water is going from $3.45 to $3.59. The fee to establish an account or transfer an account will go from $25 to $55.
• Golfers will see a 30-day play pass for city residents go from $400 to $500 to access the municipal golf course.
• If you want to be buried at Riverside Cemetery, an adult grave space for a city resident increases from $1,100 for a single space to $1,300. The interment fee for an adult goes from $1,100 to $1,200 (on a weekday, before 4:30 p.m.).
• City park users will pay more for everything from playing tennis at Aston Park to renting a swimming pool. At the WNC Nature Center, the cost for the annual event to go listen to the center’s wolves howl, for example, goes up from $5 to $10.
• Asheville Civic Center fees are going up. The costs to rent the arena and Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, two popular venues in town, are going up, and the cost passed along for staff is going up. For example, door guards, ticket-takers and ushers used to cost $9 an hour, but now will cost $11. Tap and connection fees are increasing. On a positive note, the cost of water-conservation kits is going from $4.50 for an indoor kit and $3.75 for an outdoor kit to free.
• Developers’ wallets get hit too. There are new fees for street-name changes. Where there was no cost before, it will now cost $100 for street-name change affecting one to five addresses, and more as the number of addresses affected increases. Grading permits will cost more under the city’s storm-water fund. A permit for disturbing more than 10,000 square feet of land that’s less than or equal to one acre used to cost $540. Now it will cost $620.
Go to Xpress Files to see the entire list of fee changes in the city of Asheville for the upcoming fiscal year.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor