Closing the budget gap

Increased taxes, increased fees, cuts to transit, cuts to salaries, cuts to overtime, a four-day work week for city offices and more are all on the menu of possible ways to balance Asheville’s budget. But despite Council deliberating at length on possible remedies, a stubborn $1 million gap remains. How should the city close it?

Right now, Council members support (and seem to oppose) a variety of measures. Some (Gordon Smith, Cecil Bothwell) are willing to consider a 1 cent tax increase, some rule it right out (Bill Russell, Brownie Newman). Some (Mayor Terry Bellamy, Newman) have balked at cuts to transit proposed by staff, while others (Russell) don’t like a possible increase in business license fees. Outgoing Chief Financial Officer Ben Durant has called the city’s difficulties “structural,” meaning that they require overall change to the way the city approaches its revenues and expenses, rather than being the result of temporary trials.

In this space, I’ve suggested that the city also examine the possibility of cutting salaries for highly paid staff. I’m not necessarily endorsing such cuts, mind you, but in tight times, perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to add the option to the discussion.

As with anything financial, at the end of the day there are, broadly, two answers: Either raise revenues or cut costs. So, Asheville, what would you suggest your elected representatives do to resolve the city’s budget problems? Specific proposals, with numbers, get extra points.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “Closing the budget gap

  1. chantal saunders

    How much money do we spend on supporting real estate developers? We are over run with unfinished or empty developments. Slow their roll! Charge them fees or simply stop subsidizing them!

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.