• August 20, 2014

Cove increases fees

Animal control, water, sewer and garbage rates rise

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Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2012 4:30 am | Updated: 11:47 am, Wed Jul 16, 2014.

COPPERAS COVE — Residents dealing with Animal Control can expect some fees to go up in October as the price of caring for animals rises.

“Most of the (increases) are just to cover our costs that have been going up over the years,” said David Wellington, a senior animal control officer with the city. “It has been a long time since some of them were raised. In fact, some of them haven’t ever been raised.”

The cost of supplies used for animal control increased throughout the years, including dog and cat food and shots to euthanize animals, Wellington said. Donations from the community also are at a low, which means the city has to purchase more food for animals at the shelter.

Prices for surrendering animals increased by $20, euthanasia fees increased by $25, and adoption, impound, microchip and vicious animal registrations rates also went up, according to the city’s fee schedule.

“I think it will allow us to be able to take care of the animals more and continue doing our jobs,” Wellington said.

Ryan Haverlah, the city’s budget director, said animal control staffers recommended the fee changes, but he confirmed the cost of running the department have increased.

But one fee change — dropping a lifetime charge of $150 for a vicious or dangerous animal to a $50 annual fee — was mandated by the state, Haverlah said.

“We instituted the vicious and dangerous animal registration because it was a state law change,” Wellington said. “That fee covers the collars and tags and all that we have to provide them.”

Animal control isn’t the only city department raising fees.

The city’s sewer and water fees were increased based on a third-party study examining the cost of maintaining and improving utility infrastructure, Haverlah said.

Increases in those two utilities — almost $1 for sewer customers — will help provide infrastructure improvements and maintain the city’s system, he added.

Along with the fee increase, the city provided a new rate structure that is more balanced, he said.

The new rate system is based on who the city is servicing, according to city documents, rather than the size of the line. Homeowners and renters will be charged the new residential rate while businesses will be charged a new commercial rate.

Haverlah said the city’s new fees are competitive with area municipalities.

“It costs the city money to purchase supplies and purchase other services in order for the city to supply those services,” he said. “We have always tried to eliminate or minimize our increases (in cost).”

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