Nickeled and dimed: Asheville fees increase

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

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7 thoughts on “Nickeled and dimed: Asheville fees increase

  1. jeff turner

    charging people for mandatory recyclying is unconstitutional

  2. Spouting Horn

    Why not raise fees? After all, the taxpayer is just a never ending source for cash.

    All these bureaucratic, redundant City jobs are necessary for the good of the economy and must be preserved at all costs.

  3. Biff Johnston

    Creeping socialism is expensive. And in the end, it just won’t be worth it. We’ll some day say “how did taxes and fees get so high?” And the answer will be we had a government that nickled and dimed us into a northeastern style tax bracket that isn’t good for anyone, save the career government employees and the politicians who go on spending sprees with our money.

  4. Paul -V-

    People who complain about the fee hikes are unproductive, mooching whiners.

    The city shed jobs, cut services, and cinched in every possible way in order to avoid raising taxes. The brunt of the economic downturn has been borne on the backs of city staff.

    So unless the cheap-ass moochers start paying for infrastructure with magic libertarian money, or come up with a realistic alternative to fee hikes – they need to STFU.

  5. Piffy!

    i missed that part of the constitution, jeff. can you reference it for me?

  6. jeff turner

    ,so your saying whatever the constitution dont cover ,,you can just invent taxes,your just responsible for failure of the tax base,if i know who this is,anyway i interpret the constitution in this manner ,,,article one ..section nine,of the united states constitution,as followssection 9…no capitation,or other direct tax,shall be laid,,,unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed,to be taken,,,,and …NO TAX or DUTY SHALL BE LAID ON ARTICLES EXPORTED FROM ANY STATE,,,TAXATION HAS TO BE BY CONSENT ,I DONT REMEMBER THE PEOPLE GETTING TO VOTE ON RECYCLING TAXES…im the citizen,it requires our consent i didnt give it,and i dont ,,if your are on counsil or commission you and your peers have destroyed the tax base ,the people of buncombe are suffering,and yet you place deeper burdens of taxation on us,,dont ask me about the constitution because i can interpitate it as well,i am calling for all county office employees with over twenty years service mandatory retirement now,if fact as a citizen of buncombe …your fired.,you have lived off the taxpayers long enough,you dont get no mpension either,,is this enough to start?..whomever

  7. PatD

    City’s, counties and states, throughout the country, all scramble for money.

    Yet, every church in this country, thousands in every state, get away tax free. Nobody screams.

    We inundate court rooms, dedicate large portions of police work and put people in jail over trivial stuff like drugs or paid consenting sex between adults. It’s all of course paid with, you guessed it, tax revenue. Everybody shrugs.

    Just a few things that come to mind when I think about how to stop the bleeding.

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