City Council passes fee adjustments
for the 2018-2019 fiscal year
With spring comes birds singing, longer days and — the City of Asheville budget season. Prior to adopting the 2018-2019 budget in June for the fiscal year, each April Council passes its fee adjustments. On April 10, City Council adopted its Fees & Charges for FY 2018-2019.
How this affects you
First of all, let’s talk “fiscal year.” Asheville’s fiscal year runs from July to June the following year. So most fee changes go into effect July 1.
Fees and charges are a significant revenue source for the City, comprising 35% of city-wide revenue and 10% of the General Fund revenue. These generally fall into three categories: user fees and charges; regulatory fees; and public enterprise fees and charges.
How these fee and charges affect most residents is through their combined utility statement or sometimes Parks & Recreation user fees. Here are some examples, or highlights if you will, of the fee changes for FY 2018-2019.
Take the City’s Water Fund. The Water Resources Department operates as an “enterprise fund.” This means that the money collected for water supports the department directly, reducing any subsidy from taxpayers. And yes, Council’s adopted fees and adjustments for FY 2018-2019 does raise the water collection rate, slightly. Single-family residential water will go from $4.05 per ccf to $4.13 per ccf. Water and stormwater rates will rise July 1, although changes to residents’ combined utility statements will not be applied until Sept. 1.
Aston Park Tennis Center
In March, Council voted to lower many fees at the Aston Park Tennis Center. In an analysis shared with Council, staff suggested that these fee changes should have a slightly positive impact on revenue. The upshot is that season passes were lowered, while daily passes were in some cases slightly raised.
Visit this link for the full report to Council and a copy of the resolution changing the fees. The report includes a full breakdown of the tennis center fees.
Planning and zoning fees
This area has the most significant and wide-ranging fee adjustments for this budget. Most of these fee increases apply to larger commercial or industrial development with a goal of cost recovery and less burden to the taxpayer.
And some of these fee changes are noteworthy. For example, permits for Level II projects such as residential 20-50 units will rise from $450 to $1,500. Conditional zonings of a property 10 acres or more will rise from $1,550 to $5,000. The new fee structure comes from a Development Fee Study Analysis.
“The purpose of the fee study was to look for ways to make the fee schedule more understandable for the staff and the customer,” said Development Services Director Ben Woody. “We looked for ways to simplify the schedule and consolidate fees where possible.”
The study was also designed to evaluate cost recovery.
“There was an analysis of our applications to understand how much staff time was being put into each application,” Woody explained. “We came to an understanding of how much it actually costs in staff time plus overhead to process DSD applications.”
The DSD fee changes support City Council strategic goals of supporting affordable housing and small businesses. “We targeted the majority of our fee increases away from small business owners and homeowners,” Woody said.
The full schedule of fee changes is available online at this link: Fee Adjustments for 2018-2019 Fiscal Year.
For more information about the City of Asheville’s Fiscal Year 2018-2019 budget process, visit this link.