At a glance
- On April 9, Asheville City Council adopted its Fees & Charges for FY 2019-2020.
- Fee increases are aimed at cost recovery to lessen the burden on property tax payers.
- There will be a modest increase to water and stormwater fees. Impact per the average household will be 70 cents a month or $8.40 for the year.
With spring comes longer days, lovely blooms and — the City of Asheville budget season.
Prior to adopting the fiscal year 2019-2020 budget in June, each April City Council passes its fee adjustments. On April 9, Council adopted its Fees & Charges for FY 2019-2020.
“This year the City has a modest package of fee increases,” said Tony McDowell, Budget and Financial Reporting Manager. “In the General Fund in particular there are no major changes at all.”
The ‘fiscal year’ and how it 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 fees and charges affect most residents is through their combined utility statement or sometimes Parks & Recreation user fees. Here are some highlights of the FY 2019-2020 fee changes.
Water and stormwater funds
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. The same is true of the Stormwater Division. And yes, Council’s adopted fee adjustments for FY 2019-2020 does raise the water and stormwater service rates, but only slightly. The impact per household is estimated to be 70 cents a month — or $8.40 for the year.
This small amount is planned each year to keep increases low, as opposed to making a larger increase every few years
“These are planned incremental increases aimed at cost recovery,” said McDowell. “These are both enterprise funds that do not affect the tax rates.”
Implementation and the budget process
All of the proposed fee adjustments would become effective July 1, with the exception of changes to the charges on the combined utility bill for water and stormwater, which will become effective Sept. 1. This ensures that only services provided at the new rate are being billed.
Staff may bring additional fee adjustments forward as part of the recommended budget presentation in May. Please note that there is one additional fee for small wireless facilities added since the March 26 review by the Finance & Human Resources Committee.
City Council is scheduled to adopt the 2019-2020 budget on June 11. The City’s operating budget must be passed by July 1. By law, it must be a balanced budget — and it always has been.
The discussions leading up to the final budget happen during budget worksessions. The first of those sessions for the 2019-2020 budget was March 26. All of them happen in Council Chambers, second floor of City Hall. Here’s the schedule:
- Budget Worksession, 3 p.m. March 26, video link to the budget worksession
- Budget Worksession, 3 p.m. April 9
- Adoption of Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Fees & Charges, 5 p.m. April 9 during Council’s regular meeting
- Proposed FY 2019-2020 Budget document published online May 10
- Budget Public Hearing, 5 p.m. May 28 during Council’s regular meeting. During this hearing, Council will take public comment. No public comment is taken at the budget worksessions.
- Budget Adoption, 5 p.m. June 11 during Council’s regular meeting
Keep up with the City’s budget by visiting the Budget Process webpage. Video of budget worksessions and additional budget documents will be posted on this page during the budget process.