Council to vote on tax increase to fund employee raises

In light of calls to increase city employee pay, with a particular focus on Asheville firefighters, Asheville City Council will consider a 1-cent tax increase to cover raises during its Tuesday, June 11 meeting, to be held next week at Harrah’s Cherokee Center Banquet Hall.

In May, City Manager Debra Campbell presented the proposed city budget for fiscal year 2024-25, which included a 4.11% pay raise for all permanent city employees. That increase would bring employees who work a 40-hour week up to the “pledged” living wage rate of $19 per hour. Asheville firefighters, who put in a 56-hour workweek, pushed back against the proposed increase, noting that their current hourly starting pay comes to $15.88 per hour.

According to a staff report, the new pay raise proposal includes a flat dollar increase of $4,053 for beginning on-shift firefighters, which will boost the lowest paid firefighter pay by 8.8% to $50,309 annually. At that rate, assuming a 56-hour workweek, firefighters will still earn only $17.27 per hour, below the $19 per hour “pledged” wage, and the $18.25 per hour that firefighters are requesting.

Asheville Police Department employees will receive a 6% raise, which will boost the lowest paid on-shift police officers to $50,309 per year. 

The proposed budget also includes an increase for other regular full-time permanent employees of $2,400 or 4.11%, whichever is greater, boosting the lowest paid employees’ wages by 6.3%.

To pay for the increases in city employee compensation, the new budget proposes a 1-cent increase to the property tax rate, which will result in a fiscal year 2024-25 property tax rate of 41.30 cents per $100 assessed value. The 1-cent tax rate increase would cost the average Asheville homeowner $35.08 more in city property taxes.

In other news

Council will take its second and final vote on whether to approve a business improvement district. Passions have peaked on both sides of this issue. On June 6, Asheville police reported that a vehicle parked at a downtown residence had been defaced with spray-painted graffiti with the phrase “No BID.” If approved, the BID would raise taxes on downtown commercial and residential properties to fund area-specific services. 

And a previously scheduled public hearing on a proposed Haw Creek development, which includes 95 new single-family housing units, has been postponed until Tuesday, July 23. 

Consent agenda and public comment 

The meeting’s consent agenda contains five items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following:


  • A resolution that supports two Asheville-based North Carolina Department of Transportation projects: one project will construct sidewalks along sections of Smokey Park Highway, while the other project will extend the southbound right turn lane on US 25 (Hendersonville Road) at NC 146 (Long Shoals Road). Both projects are fully funded by NCDOT, with the exception of $5,100 for the cost of an ADA-accessible bus pad on Hendersonville Road.

  • Authorize City Manager Campbell to execute a $269,000 contract with Urban Canopy Works for the development of the Urban Forest Master Plan, which will establish a baseline of up to 15,000 public trees and a management system to prioritize plantings and maintenance.

Council members will gather at 5 p.m. at Harrah’s Cherokee Center Banquet Hall, located at 87 Haywood St. The meeting will also be carried live on Charter/Spectrum Channel 193 and livestreamed through Asheville’s public engagement hub and on the city’s YouTube channel. Members of the public can listen live by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code 1286.

Those who wish to speak during the meeting must attend in person and sign up at the door. No live remote comments will be permitted. Prerecorded voicemail messages can also be left at 855-925-2801, meeting code 1286; written comments can be sent to until 9 a.m. June 11. General comments for City Council can be sent at any time to

The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.


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2 thoughts on “Council to vote on tax increase to fund employee raises

  1. Bright

    Taxpayers need to see and unedited report of what these people “earn.”

  2. Nostupid people

    That’s not how that works you degenerate idiots! The more intelligent way would be to lesson the taxes on their income. Money saved is money earned! Lower the taxes, then find people that have half a brain with commonsense to manage our money! The fools have continued to waste our revenue . You use the teachers pay to lure tax hikes. Yet the highest lottery payouts have been in the past two years, which is supposed to go towards education ,very strange.!

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