Local News

Raleigh Budget Proposal Includes Increases In User Fees

Posted May 14, 2002

— There is no property tax increase in the budget the city manager released Tuesday, but there are some new fees, and increases in existing fees that will make it more expensive to live and do business in Raleigh.

Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen presented details of his 2002-03 budget proposal to the mayor, members of the Raleigh City Council and other city officials Tuesday morning at the Raleigh civic and Convention Center.

Some of the proposals for homeowners include:

  • An increase in garbage pickup fees. The solid waste fee is proposed to increase from $1.30 to $5 a month, an increase of $44.40 per year.
  • A new fee intended to pay for storm water runoff problems. The proposed cost is $2 to $3 a month.
  • There are also proposed increases in business fees, many of which would impact the development community. Those include:

  • A $2 a day increase at city-owned parking lots
  • A 15 percent increase in inspection fees
  • A higher cost for business licenses -- the first increase in 50 years
  • Fire alarm testing would increase
  • New fees for storm water runoff
  • New fees for false fire alarms
  • Critics say the new budget is not business-friendly.

    "Especially with regard to downtown, where we're trying to actively encourage development, we have large investments by the private section," City Councilman Kieran Shanahan said. "I think we're going to shoot ourselves in the foot if we add 10, 12, 15 taxes, on top of business especially downtown."

    Despite the increases, the city manager said Raleigh will remain very competitive with a low-tax burden.

    "We compared the typical cost for a resident to pay taxes and solid waste fees and water and sewer with our costs versus other cities in Wake County and other large cities across the state. We are, by far, the lowest," Allen said.

    The governor is withholding millions of dollars from local governments. In Raleigh, it adds up to $8 million for the next budget year, $20 million after that. The 2002-03 budget proposal includes that money.

    If that money does not come, the city has an emergency list of programs that will be cut. It would call for cuts in street and park improvements and arts programs.

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