Budget Shortfall Meeting
Updated: Thursday, April 4 2013, 07:24 AM EDT
Asheville City leaders have a tough road ahead of them. City council members must figure out how to deal with what could be a $6 million gap in next year's budget.
At a public hearing Wednesday, Council announced that they are looking at cutting services and staffing, as well as hiking some city services. A few of their ideas are to freeze police officer vacancies, close the WNC Nature Center and eliminate an entire fire station.
Council has already approved hikes in parking rates, garbage collection fees and water rates. They are also looking at other options. In addition, city leaders plan to halt sidewalk maintenance, close swimming pools and cancel youth athletics. Another major setback would be doing away with Saturday bus service.
Many of those ideas didn't sit well with the public.
If the city's gap isn't large enough, state lawmakers may be adding to it. Several bills pending in Raleigh could shrink the bottom line by millions more.
During Wednesday's meeting, Mayor Terry Bellamy announced to the crowd that a bill to de-annex the Asheville Regional Airport from the city was introduced in the house. That too could add to the budget shortfall.
Another budget meeting is in the works.
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