I’m sick of fees. Like fleas, they are unwanted, undesirable irritants that periodically bug me. The only people who might possibly like fees are the ones who collect them, and they are mostly bureaucrats who really don't enjoy their jobs very much. Every month my housing association bills me $145 in fees for services – many of which I would gladly do myself. For example, shoveling snow off my sidewalk and driveway. I usually have to do that anyway because, on the rare occasions that it snows, I usually need to go somewhere before the association gets around to having my walk shoveled. Not that I can’t walk in three inches of snow, but that’s the depth at which they start shoveling.

Garbage collection is another part of my fees. The property taxes I pay include garbage collection, but since I live in a development, the township requires that we contract with a company to remove our trash. So I’m paying twice for trash pick up. Not only that, but I live alone and pay twice what the family of 8 pay that live just down the road. Trash removal should be assessed by the pound or by the cubic foot.

My housing association is part of a larger association that bills me annual fees. Their fees are for the tennis courts, the tot lot and the swimming pool. I don’t play tennis, I don’t have kids, and I don’t go to the pool, but I get to pay for them.

I have a summer home in Colorado. I just paid my annual $150 road assessment so that some guy can plow the road in front of my house in the winter. I’m only there in the summer. The one Christmas I was there, I was snowed in for a week.

Assessments are like fees, only they sound more important. Assessments are how they raise your taxes. My property tax bill for my Colorado home just arrived. A lot of it was for schools. I can’t complain too much about that, even though I don’t have kids. My parents paid taxes for me to go to school, and they also paid for some of my college tuition. Why do I have to pay for someone else’s kids? Besides, parents get a tax deduction for having kids that I am taxed to educate, so I'm actually paying more for their kids education than their parents are paying. I especially don’t like paying to educate the kids who vandalize the property on which I’m paying taxes. I don’t see anything about jails on my tax form. They have the library, the county, the hospital, and two different water conservancy agencies as recipients of my taxes. I thought the hospital charged too much already for their services, but it seems like I have to pay them whether I go there or not.

I’ve made quite a few improvements to my property and it cost me quite a bit. Most of the taxes I’m paying are for the improvements on which I spent lots of money. You’d think that they would encourage people to make improvements rather than taxing us for improving things.

My stockbrokerage billed me a fee for “inactivity.” When they buy or sell securities for me, they charge a fee. Now they are charging me a fee for not buying or selling my securities.

Recently I purchased a new truck and wanted the license plate transferred from my old truck. They wanted a fee for that, so I though it was a good time to request a personalized plate. They wouldn’t let me do that. I had to first pay a fee for transferring the old plate and then another fee for the new plate. And since my old license plate, which I didn’t use, was registered in March, I have to pay a fee to have my new truck inspected 8 months after I bought it.

My driver’s license was falling apart this past summer and wasn’t going to last until renewal time, which was in December, so I requested my new license early. “Oh no,” said the lady at the DMV. I had to pay a fee to get a replacement for my old license and then apply a month later and pay another fee for my renewal.

My federal and state taxes are now sitting here in front of me, and I’m looking at all the fees and assessments that I have to pay. One stock investment, for which I have to pay capital gains tax on reinvested dividends, is worth less this year than it was last year. I hate doing my taxes. I could pay a fee and have it done for me, but the idea of paying someone to tell my how much I have to pay just doesn’t seem right. We may live in a free democracy, but right now I'm paying too many fees to feel free.

• • •