Guilford County government hasn’t raised taxes in seven years but the piper still needs to be paid along with Peter and Paul – and people who use Guilford County services to any extent are likely to notice that a slew of county fees have recently increased.
Those fees include everything from ones on animal services to fees for obtaining public health certifications or getting planning department inspections – including even fees for getting a security badge to enter the county’s courthouses without going through security.
Guilford County department directors claim consistently across the board that their departments are underfunded – and one way of bringing in more money at a time when the county isn’t raising taxes is by hiking up fees.
Many fees, for instance, have gone up in the Animal Services Department. The county’s fee for boarding a “dangerous or vicious” animal has recently increased from $20 a day to $50 a day. Owner-requested euthanasia for animals has doubled, from $10 to $20.
If you’re an attorney or paralegal who needs to get a county-issued security badge to enter one of the county’s two courthouses without taking your belt off, the cost of getting that badge just went up from $10 to $15. Under some circumstances, the new fee can be $20 or $30 to get a badge.
Among many other fees going up, county residents will now pay more for things like reviews for fire alarm plans in buildings. Those used to cost $75 and now that service will set property owners back $125. Many other fire and safety related service fees have also been increased. For instance, having an Emergency Medical Services crew standby at your public event used to cost $100 an hour and now it’s $150.
The fee increases are expected to bring in some pretty good money to the county. For instance, just increasing the cost of emergency crew standby at events alone is expected to bring in an extra $50,000 a year. With that and many more costs increasing for services across multiple departments, the county is anticipating a sizable overall revenue hike in the current fiscal year and in the following years from fees.
Our property and sales taxes are supposed to support the City & County expenses. Every one in Guilford County pays those taxes directly, or to those who pay them. All the fees are nothing more than “stealth” taxes. These are fine with many as they don’t pay them. Of course, you could work on removing worthless programs such as a dog park that is not needed, or a violence reduction program that does not work.
A tax by any other name smells just as rotten. Do they teach these administrators a course in mendacity?