City Council approves measure to control property tax collection costs

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Controlling costs is not only smart for your budget, it’s also a fiscally responsible practice when it comes to managing taxpayer dollars.


A new agreement between Asheville and Buncombe County authorized by Asheville City Council during its Jan. 8 meeting reorders a property tax collection agreement. This change will help the City better plan for the costs for this service. Cost savings are outlined below.


Buncombe County collects the tax for the City, which is helpful to residents. Recognizing that having City taxpayers pay one bill was more efficient than paying separate bills for City taxes and County taxes, in 2015 City Council entered into an agreement in which the City would pay the County to bill and collect City taxes along with County taxes.


But the 2017 revaluation was a game changer. The revaluation showed that Asheville property values are increasing faster than the rest of Buncombe County. Rising values drove the collection rate higher, meaning the City paid proportionally more than the other cities.


The City Finance Department reviewed measures to control these costs.


First, the City negotiated an interim agreement with Buncombe County for the 2017-2018 tax collection. Next, the City negotiated a flat-fee, three-year agreement that will help control costs and give the Finance Department a better handle on what those costs will be, year to year. And that is what City Council approved during its first meeting of 2019.


“We appreciate Buncombe County working with the City to revise the property tax collection agreement in a way that is fair and fiscally responsible for our residents,” said Mayor Esther Manheimer.


“By proactively keeping an eye on our agreements, such as this one, Asheville can identify significant areas for cost savings,” said Chief Financial Officer Barbara Whitehorn.


The action relates to Council’s Vision 2036, which envisions Asheville as a financially resilient city.


Find a copy of the resolution authorizing the agreement change at this link.


For more information on the 2017 Buncombe County revaluation, visit this link.