Residents might soon be paying slightly more for Columbia County Animal Care and Control services.
Some fee increases for the department's services were proposed at a Feb. 27 Community and Emergency Services Committee meeting.
Pam Tucker, Columbia County Emergency Services Division director, said the increases will be in targeted areas such as the fees for animal pick-ups to cover growing expenses.
"The main focus is on pick-ups, (to ensure) all of our costs incurred whenever we do the pick-ups, that we are getting the money back for what it costs," Tucker said.
Animal Care and Control Manager Linda Fulmer said fuel costs have gone up nearly 25 percent since this time last year. Both fuel and salaries for Animal Control officers and administrative staff also have to be figured into the cost of services.
Fulmer said her employees were called to 10,493 locations in 2005, with each animal pick-up costing the department $24.10.
"We're not trying to make profit," Fulmer said, adding that vehicle maintenance, fuel costs and salaries are all growing. "We're just trying to cover expenses."
The proposed fee increases also include stiffer penalties for the owners of picked-up animals. The fee for the first cat or dog pick-up for an owner, if the proposed changes are passed, will raise from $25 to $30. The second pick-up for the same owner in a still-undetermined amount of time will rise from $35 to $60. A third offense, for which an owner might get written a county citation, will increase from $45 to $125, according to the proposal.
Tucker said proposed increases are still being worked out, but a final proposal will be presented to county commissioners at the March 27 Community and Emergency Services Committee meeting before being forwarded on to the Board of Commissioners for the final vote.
If approved, the fee increases will go into effect July 1, Tucker said.
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