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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Runners may soon have to shell out more cash for their hobby. The proposed fee is part of Wilmington’s recommended budget for the upcoming year. It would require all city race participants to pay an extra dollar for each race they run.

“I just don’t think that it’s a very good idea,” said Tracy Christian, president of Wilmington Road Runners, a group of running enthusiasts, and a race organizer. “I want people to be more well. We want the cross-city trails, we want the greenways, we want people to be active and healthy, and this is not how you do it.”

Christian is not happy with the fee proposed by Recreation and Downtown Services Superintendent Amy Beatty as a way to maintain greenways, trails, streets and sidewalks.

“What we are trying to do is directly link the the service to a particular fee, so that the users of that service are the ones who are absorbing that fee,” Beatty said.

Beatty hopes race organizers will pass the fee on to participants instead of taking it on themselves.

“I think it’s kind of a shame that they are going to tax the runners, because I know that the races bring quite a bit of money into the city, but at the same time, it is just a dollar,” runner Chaia Warrington said.

The Port City hosts about 40 or 50 races every year, but race organizers are afraid the proposed fees could cut that number significantly.

“I wonder if the city maybe had some complaints from people downtown and they are trying to get rid of events, because this will definitely shut down smaller races,” Christian said.

The majority of the city’s races are small. Christian says when smaller races go, the non-profits who put them on will lose lots of funding.

Beatty says she does not expect the fee to impact the number of races in town.

If the budget is approved at tomorrow night’s City Council meeting, runners could see changes starting as early as July 1.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest?

    How much is your average registration fee for a marathon/half-marathon? How much is did you spend on your running shoes? How about shorts, special “running” socks, tanks, etc.? I’m a runner too so I know a lot of money can be spent on this sport. If one dollar is going to give you heartache, then by all means, don’t race.

  • guesty

    There is a very easy solution for all that you whine about; just follow the rules and laws and you won’t have to pay any fines or have your car taken away.
    Don’t like it, get elected and make some changes, move away or my wish for you: just shut up, you sound like a little bit*h.

  • Guest2020

    It’s not a tax. It’s a fee. Only the participants are paying the dollar.

  • Guest1334

    You’re not seeing the big picture. This is what the city of Wilmington is going to start doing now that they cannot annex forcibly anymore. The fees will keep expanding, and they will continue to anger people. I can see it now, the city of Wilmington is going to say “well, see what happens when we can’t annex anymore? We need a way to make up for that lost revenue.”

  • WCCR member

    HI there- The dollar does not go to police support. That is extra. Police fee is paid separately as is DOT fee for blocking roads and permit fees for having the event.

  • Guest32

    Wilmington and the Cape Fear region have a lot to offer for the weekender, vacationer and locals. We have attraction to the beaches, rivers, golf, NC battleship, riverfront, parades, festivals, celebrities, fireworks, music cookouts, museums and arts, gardens, and more shopping than you can do in a life time. Come on down….…
    We also have New Hanover County Sheriff, Wilmington Police, Wrightsville Beach Police, South Port Police, Carolina Beach Police, Kure Beach Police, NC Wildlife, NC Hwy Patrol, Coast Guard, Helicopter, Radar, Cameras, Sub Marine devices, an Army of Parking Meter People, Tow Trucks, Citizen Volunteers watching your every move, We also have Tons of Permits, so you can do anything you want here: We’ve got one for freshwater fishing, we’ve got one for saltwater fishing, we have one if you want to sit at a picnic table in the park, and we have one if you want to drive on the beach and Fines for pulling a Neighbor out of the Sand. We have one if you want to go boating, we have one if you want to go camping, and, if you want to invite a few friends, we have one so you can have a party. And, introducing our latest service – the county can take your car and sell it at auction, so I wouldn’t recommend driving anything you want to go back home in. The trap is set. We are waiting in ambush for you.
    We love your money, and we don’t care how we get it. As long as you come back. With a smile.

  • Guest?

    For crying out loud $1 to help cover the cost of re-routing traffic during tourist season, closing roads, adding police officers for traffic control. Are you people really upset about $1? Then maybe you shouldn’t be racing. Give me a break! It’s ONE DOLLAR!!!!

  • Citizen of the Republic

    Wilmington might want to try floating fee schedules.
    When organizers register participants, that number is used to determine cost per runner.
    500 runners,walkers,etc participate.
    City services for the walk or race is $30,000. (Police EMS cleanup etc.)
    The fee would translate out to $60 per entry.
    Just examples. But the floating fees would ensure that if City and County drivers have to deal with the headaches of these races, at least they know it’s paying for itself.

    Or, it could be done like fishing and hunting licenses. If a runner or biker is going to enter into an event, his license fee would cover a season of activities.

    The main focus should be if the event is allowed, the cost of services should be carried by the event. Especially if it’s going to involve bringing traffic to a halt on a weekend.

    Just ideas, but for a $1, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

  • Uncle Reality

    It’s called a “user fee,” and we need to rely upon them more than ever.

    For example, why do we give hundreds of millions to maintain National Parks when the entrance fees are tiny and most Americans don’t go to a national Park in any given year? Raise the entrance fees, decrease the amount of tax revenue we spend on parks.

    It’s no different than when the local WAVE bureaucrat tried to get people to accept a rather substantial increase in auto registration to fund WAVE. People rose up in anger and said, “No, increase fares to make those who use WAVE pay for WAVE.”

    It’s no different with these races. The city incurs expenses in many of these runs, and it’s only right that the people running in the race help defray those costs. Beside that, if you can’t afford an additional dollar in your entry fee, you need to stop running and spend the time figuring out where you went wrong in life.

  • Erlkoenig

    Then let’s just call it an “investment”. That misuse of the word ought to satisfy the tax and waste Socialist at the COW.

  • Guest2020

    That’s pretty much what I was thinking. There are government resources being used and the ones participating should be the ones who pay for it.

  • Bob

    Horse Hockey “Uncle Reality!

    Your argument is what the politicians will use but the reality is that these and other such events bring 100s if not 1000s of people into the downtown area that would not have come downtown otherwise. These people eat, drink and spend money while they are there. This translates to an increase in sales with is good for the businesses in the area and due to sales tax, good for the city government as well. It is also true that most of these events are for charity. It is the “it’s only a dollar” attitude that allows taxes and fees to steadily rise without proper vetting and consideration by voters.

    The fact is, organizers will find other locations for their events and the net result will likely be less money in the town coffers rather than more. It has been proven that raising taxes is the least efficient way to increase revenue and in many cases it has the opposite effect. Businesses move, jobs are lost, people stop spending money, etc. The city should look to find ways to encourage organizations, businesses and such to choose downtown and Wilmington for their events not discourage.

  • SurfCityTom

    when you consider the cost required for decent running shoes, an extra buck is no big deal.

    Perhaps though, it can be waived for those with special needs or those events which support such items as Wounded Warriors.

    No doubt, now it will be time for a complaint or two. Somehow, someone will want to tie this in with the ball park issue.


    Non- Runners who are making opinionated comments. Please understand that the City of Wilmington does not pay for police to direct traffic, or traffic control. The race already has to pay OFF DUTY OFFICER FEES and A COMPANY TO PAY FOR TRAFFIC CONTROL ETC. RACES ALREADY HAVE TO PAY TRASH CLEANUP, that is EXTRA. The only cost that the city of Wilmington incurs is administrative. Everything that you see on the race course, the RACE is already paying (Extra). Now what do you think? By the way, I was downtown yesterday and counted about 20 cigarette butts on the ground around me. Put the BUCK on smokers if you are going to tax the runners as well.

  • geneslady

    What will the City of Wilmington come up with next!!!!!! How about taxing a property owner every time a car drives by? Sound ridiculous? Yes, it does, and so does this new hair-brain scheme of taxing runners. November elections can’t come to soon for me!!!!

  • Erlkoenig

    What COW needs is a Dumb Idea tax. That way following every decision by Tax saffo and Cheathem, they can rate in serious big bucks.

  • Guest1946

    Just go somewhere else to race and take all the money with you that would have otherwise been spent in Wilmington. Not a matter of the money here, but a matter of principal. Maybe Sterling wants some extra cash for the new ball field.

  • PublicAvenger

    It’s high time those free-loading runners paid up. We should round up the first 100 we see, and hold them hostage, until we can get enough money, to build another Creekwood, or build a $50 million dollar baseball stadium.

    The next target…. That free-loader, who wants to walk his dog around the neighborhood, after a long days work.

  • Guest745

    PublicAvenger: LOL

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    ….as long as we continue with the idea of making those who play, pay.

    For example, no more gazillion dollar giveaways to the local soccer leagues. Raise the sign-up fees and let the soccer league fund itself.

    No more funding for museums or art. If they can’t pay for themselves, they go under….just like the private sector.

    No one should be forced to subsidize a service that he or she will never use nor garner any benefit from. The simple fact is that user fees are GOOD. In the case at hand, unless you are a runner, you pay nothing. This has absolutely no impact on you at all. If you are a runner, then it’s only right that YOU help defray the costs the city occurs because of these runs. If there’s a police officer along that race route directing traffic, YOU need to be helping pay his salary.

    That’s the direction we need to start moving in, by getting the government out of absorbing the cost for niche interests in various minority segments of the population.

  • John Slade

    If you knew what was involved in organizing a racing event, then you would probably sing a different tune… the event organizers must pay the city for all police use, and road blockages…. so what is the $1 per runner tax going to… the city… Will the city stop there?? NO… In england they have setup cameras that take pictures of your license plates when you enter a certain part of town, and you are mailed a $5 tax for entering… this is where we are heading… It’s not the fact that it’s ONLY one dollar it’s the principle that they are finding ways for the city to make more money since they can’t force annexation on outside communities anymore… They will invent more tactics just you see… Before long no one will want to live in Municipalities…

  • gray

    This is the ONLY tax I agree with. Some of these races shutdown roads and all impede traffic. If they are going to use the roads in Wilmington then they should pay to. If the runners choose to go somewhere else then great, big deal. They are a pain in the butt anyway.

  • Guest CommonTater

    “a way to maintain greenways, trails, streets and sidewalks.”

    We built without a properly budgeted way to maintain? What vision these idiots have. Could we use some of that cool million we just “found” or is this not a useless enough cause for the tools on the council to throw money at?

    I hope they take their events to another location….. Stupid idiots run this city….

  • craver

    Why shouldn’t they pay an extra dollar (in my opinion, make it $5.00). Everytime I see these major runs there are police officers redirecting traffic and traffic goes at a snail’s pace. Who pays for these officers. Let the runners kick in – it’s only fair.


    Yeah, why try to live a healthy lifestyle and come together with your community. Lets just keep our fat asses on the couch.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    Let the runners pay to cover that cost.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    It’s a user fee. If you want to run, you pay for the costs.

    All that other fluff about all the people who come here and the money they spend is nebulous, unprovable speculation that is used by everyone wanting a free ride on taxpayer dollars.

    I’m dead set against tax increases. I’m 100% in favor of user fees, and Uncle Reality is 100% spot on. If you run, you pay.

  • John Slade

    Come on Common Sense… use some… What are the runners actually using? The streets and sidewalks their tax-DOLLAR already went to pay? The event officials are already paying for services such as trash, police, etc. so what is the dollar for… it’s a petty tax… Are they going to start toll roads through town because we use those too? Isn’t the tax rate we already pay enough taxes… Hell, this is why we declared our independence from England to start with… we have become exactly what we sent out to avoid…

  • Beach Bum


    Freedom of Choice.

    Personaly, I already know too many people in the Wilmington Region I don’t care for and really don’t want to get to know any others.

    And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I don’t want any of these hippie morons getting to know me.

    You can keep your diversity.


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