How much are you willing to pay to make Asheville a sustainable, equitable and resilient community?
Each month, I pay at least $20 for parking downtown or a car service like Uber or Lyft. I would rather invest that money to help our whole community thrive.
The proposed tax increase of 3 cents per $100 in property value would give the city funding for items that never make it into the city budget, like extending public transit hours, renewing the urban forest and installing solar panels. Funding of this kind comes with flexibility and can be used for capital improvements like energy efficiency upgrades, as well as operating expenses like hiring an arborist and more bus drivers — in contrast to the 2016 bond measure, which can only be used for infrastructure.
With already high housing costs, asking Asheville residents to pay more is hard, but the expense would be proportionate to wealth. If you are renting a unit worth $200,000, your landlord would have to pay about $60/year, and a million-dollar home would pay $300/year. Most of the funds come from the highest-value properties in town like Mission Hospital and hotels.
As a homeowner, unforeseen expenses like sump pumps and gutter repairs are part of living in a climate-impacted planet as we get more extreme weather. I see an increase of about $12 a month in property tax as an opportunity to shift items in my budget from parking and Ubers to a bus system that works for everyone. It helps reduce my carbon footprint and provides funds for anti-displacement measures. By being part of the solution now, we can avoid the worst costs of climate chaos and honor our responsibility to future generations.
You can read more out proposed property tax increase at www.3centsforourfuture.org.
— Michelle Myers
Editor’s note: This letter was submitted before concerns about COVID-19 began affecting daily life in Asheville.