Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Letters to the Editor

May 20, 2014

City street fees penalize landowners

— — The city of Bluefield has street fees. I understand street fees — if one has a house, then he or she pays for fire, garbage, etc. However, I do not understand the street fee for any lots or other raw land when there is no structure. The city says we have to “pay for usage of the street,” even if we just walk on our property.

The fees are, so I’m told, $5 per month per parcel or $15 per quarter, which is $45 per year. That is way more than taxes! (And not tax-deductible.)

These street fees inhibit poor people and working class people from buying any property. To own land is to empower oneself. Paying those exorbitant fees could be at the expense of food or other household necessities. It is as if they are penalizing us for owning land. Why should we buy properties at the tax sale if we are going to be penalized for owning land?

Additionally, I haven’t seen anything in the municipal code that authorizes these fees. The city needs to rethink this whole program rather than continue the status quo. Shame on the city of Bluefield for keeping poor people poor.

Marissa Ward

Richmond, Va.

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