Letter: Keep Asheville a place for all

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The 2021 reappraisals from Buncombe County have arrived, much to the dismay of the many people posting on Nextdoor and my friends who are homeowners, as am I. While this is a reflection of how “hot” this area is in many neighborhoods, we are in the midst of a pandemic with reduced income and higher unemployment for many of us. The projected property taxes, using the 2020 formula and the higher valuation, will be an issue for many residents. If you are selling your house, it is fantastic. If you are an average person trying to stay in your house and pay all your bills, it may be difficult.

While we can file an appeal, there is no guarantee that the new figure will be significant enough to make much difference in your tax burden. Perhaps a better method would be to flood the emails and phones of county commissioners and City Council members expressing your desire for the property taxes to be adjusted to a “revenue neutral” basis for 2021. Maybe there are areas of the county and city budgets that can be analyzed and pared down, or the reserves built into them can be utilized. These folks are elected by us and need to hear our concerns. Have a heart, elected officials, as many of us struggle to pay for housing/food/heat, etc. If you do not have any financial issues, please think of your neighbors who may be in a more dire situation.

Not only are the homeowners being affected by increased taxes, but the trickle down goes to renters, as landlords also need to cover their increased costs. As disposable income shrinks, it means less will be spent in local businesses. Less sales tax revenue means less income for the county and city. It is a vicious cycle, and the solution is not always a property tax increase. This area already has some of the highest rental costs in the state, and one can only wonder how many families will need to leave the county for more affordable outlying areas.

Asheville has had such a great marketing campaign for well-heeled visitors (many of whom are now residents) that we are evolving into a place only affordable to wealthy retirees and those with well-paying remote jobs. So where do the hotel, restaurant staff and other people in allied service fields go? It becomes more difficult to find a home close to their jobs, and we know parking is a serious issue, which adds to the commuting problem. Try researching the lyrics to Don Henley’s song “The Last Resort” and substitute Asheville’s mountains for Malibu’s coast.

Please reach out to those who control the taxes and our future direction with your complaints. We do have a voice, so please use it. Think of those among us who are not wealthy and make the effort to maybe not “keep Asheville weird,” but to keep Asheville as a place for all. As the last line of the song goes, “You call someplace paradise, kiss it goodbye.”

— Larry Layton


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8 thoughts on “Letter: Keep Asheville a place for all

  1. indy499

    Larry, the assessment is merely a process to equalize the tax basis between people who bought recently (and therefore have a high tax basis) and those who bought a few years ago and have not yet been brought up to market. NC law requires it.

    Your upcoming tax bill is in the hands of the county commissioners and the city council. No reason to question reassessment per se. Taxes could even go down if the rate were reduced enough, no matter how high the assessment is (hint: it won’t be).

  2. Enlightened Enigma

    Hey, so most of ya’ll always vote for all the progressive democrackkks and they LOVE to tax your ass. WHY do you never
    remember that on election day? They are NOT going to be reducing your taxes…You voted for Bideng, now you get to pay
    the piper, more and more for the next four… ENJOY IT ! You brought it on yourselves !

    City council and county commissioners rarely, if ever, answer (or read?) emails. They are taught that technique at the
    Govco Institute when elected… to control the narrative NEVER answer emailed questions is their ‘policy’ . And won’t answer
    on FB either…these are the NON leaders AVL suffers now.

    • Xiden lost, we all know it.

      “Asking” demunists to reduce your taxes is like “asking” pedophiles to not be attracted to children, it’s just not in their nature to do so. Sorry, move to a free state, if you can find one.

      • Dopamina

        The crazy thing is that some people don’t actually mind working together and paying taxes – shocking, I know! Maybe you feel it is far better to be selfish and interact with others as though you were a dog, taking as much from other people as they will tolerate? It’s a dog eat dog world, gotta get yours!

        What’s with you people and all the juvenile name-calling anyhow? Are you guys alright? Were you not loved enough as children? :(

  3. Lou

    “Think of those among us who are not wealthy and make the effort to maybe not “keep Asheville weird,” but to keep Asheville as a place for all.” I fear you are wasting your breath, that ship has already sailed. Wonder where the rich will secure workers to maintain their privileged lifestyle? Do I care? NOPE. Not at all.

    • Dopamina

      There’s going to be an interesting breaking point in the near future. The service workers are being priced out but Asheville only functions as a destination town if there are service workers to run it.

      So what happens when the staff who actually serve all the tourists can’t afford to live here?

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