Letter: Asheville residents need more bang for our bucks

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The Sept. 26 Mountain Xpress has an article about leaf pickup and recycling, which states that Hendersonville “employs bagless collection, where citizens simply pile loose leaves curbside for pickup” [“Raking It In: Fallen Leaves Offer Great Garden Benefits”]. Wow —what a nice thing to do for its taxpaying residents. Oh wait, those of us paying outrageous Asheville city taxes used to have that. After City Council decided the trucks were too expensive, they gave us free bags we could pick up at fire stations to bag our own leaves, but that, too, was a benefit I guess deemed too costly and discontinued.

This year, we get a new downtown police unit for about $1 million, which will, among other things, satisfy the hoteliers and tourists to make sure they are happy and safe while we get continued tax increases and bond payments along with less services. Where is the entity that has driven the increased temporary population and wear and tear of downtown? Oh, the TDA is spending almost $6 million to further advertise Asheville, which for those of us who have given up trying to enjoy downtown due to its overcrowding, seems like overkill. I am aware that their mission is to promote Asheville, but granting the city money to police/repair downtown among other things does not seem to be a bad idea, even though it is wishful thinking.

I really wish Council would adjust their priorities and think of us who pay extra fees for our vehicles ($30), dog licenses ($10), chicken registration ($25) and so much more — the 2018 Fees and Charges Manual is over 120 pages and is an interesting read. Yes, I am whining and have to accept the changes that have taken place over the 25 years I have lived here, but I would really appreciate a bit more bang for my buck. If we residents/taxpayers have to do more with less, then perhaps (and this is speculation) the city could reduce its ever-expanding budget and have the staff do what we are doing.

— Larry Layton
Asheville

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11 thoughts on “Letter: Asheville residents need more bang for our bucks

  1. Lulz

    Amen. Funny how they went to Raleigh in person to protest the water yet they must’ve forgot how to get there in regards to the TDA. They’re cronies of the corporations that run the tourist industry. And they’re making damn sure no resident can compete with them. Only pay. Bunch of frauds.

    • luther blissett

      “they went to Raleigh in person to protest the water”

      Stop reinventing history. The city lobbied to try and prevent the NCGA passing an unconstitutional bill, got nowhere, then sued the state and won.

      The TDA law is constitutional. It hasn’t aged well. It needs to be amended. How’s that supposed to happen?

  2. luther blissett

    Hendersonville property tax rate: $0.49 per $100 assessed value.
    Asheville property tax rate: $0.4289 per $100 assessed value.

  3. Enlightened Enigma

    For a city with so many deciduous trees, and one that used to provide leaf vacuum services, when times were tougher, it is horrific that this service has been discontinued. As usual, ineffective NON leadership shows all over this city . They stifle real growth and city cleanliness and such requirements. Compel city council to CLEAN IT UP !

    • Hawk

      I’m with you but can we use a different word than “horrific” that someone won’t vaccum up your leaves. That’sest way to get someone to roll their eyes and ignore your point. I’m beggining to think that hyperbole is the most thing in the whole world…😉

  4. Wayne Allen

    You make some really good points there Larry. Unfortunately most if not all governments are beholding to special interest and in this case to business. Citizens always seem to come second to business and I still don’t get that. Hey tell them you want to build a hotel downtown and believe me they will all come running to hear what you have to say.

  5. Jay Reese

    Tourist only make up roughy 10% of the population in Asheville which means the rest of the people you are complaining about are residents and we should all be paying more taxes to fund the services we want.

    • Enlightened Enigma

      uhm NO, we already pay huge property taxes in this city and raising taxes only INCREASES R E N Ts for the local workers ! ! ! Street conditions in this city are an abomination. NO leadership nor management, utter failure as a city.

      but, hopefully, Miss Debra is comin’ to fix it after 13 years of a pathetic pansy city manager …

    • Robin Canuck

      Actually, there shouldn’t be more new taxes to pay. This was a service that was taken away. The City elected to eliminate the service and do something else with the taxes that were already paid, and taxpayers should demand that the services be restored using the taxes that were previously allocated for that purpose.

  6. Standing up for what is right

    I agree I do believe we middle class people of Asheville are paying too much in property taxes plus taxes on food, clothing, especially since minimum wage is so law. People can’t make a living in Asheville! The roads are overcrowded and most of the vehicles I see are from out of state. I can’t enjoy Asheville anymore due to it being a tourist attraction! All of these are facts andi do believe we need to stand up for what’s fair. I lived in Harnett County my property taxes on my vehicle was $6.87 a year. Move up here and it’s all of a sudden 87.04 year on a car that is 20 years old. Fixing the roads are a must especially in the ‘historic montford’ district. We know it’s historic but the roads look older then the buildings. We the people of Asheville deserve more. And we definitely need change. It’s a struggle for the lower class, who can’t even buy a house or a car because they can’t afford the cost of owning one. Because without Asheville natives Asheville wouldn’t even exist. I get it I really do, tourists come here to bring money into the shops, diners, hotels and city but they eventually leave, and we are the ones paying high taxes/costs to live here. A one bedroom studio apartment is $1,300 a month for someone making $10.00/hour with a family of 4 can not afford that, plus everything else! It’s ridiculous to think that is okay!

  7. Robin Canuck

    Actually, leaf collection was a City provided service for decades, but the Public Works Director at the time (Cathy Ball) elected to eliminate the service from her department’s repertoire . Technically, there shouldn’t be a need to raise taxes to restore leaf vacuuming. The funds for that service still exist, they were just appropriated to something else. The City didn’t magically get new money to hire all of those new engineers and inspectors, so it’s just a matter of Council (and the new City Manager) to decide that it’s a priority service that warrants reinstating.
    It’s also curious that smaller cities like Hendersonville, and much bigger cities like Greensboro, can provide curb side leaf collection, but Asheville’s lame Public Works can’t. All other things being equal (funding, equipment costs, labor costs, product disposal, etc.), one can only deduce that Asheville must employee clueless idiots in their Public Works Department.

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