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County seeks dog license fee increase

8/8/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Also, Montrose roads issue on hold

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Pet owners will likely see an increase in dog license fees in the coming year as the county seeks to increase revenue for its Division of Animal Control.

Summit County Council’s Rules Committee recommended Council adopt an ordinance amending the current Animal Control ordinance to increase the cost of a dog license to $18 from $14 starting in 2014. Kennel fees would increase to $80 from the current $50 if the ordinance is approved.

Jason Dodson, chief of staff in the County Executive’s office, said the proposed increase is needed to help Animal Control cover its expenses without relying on the county’s General Fund.

In 2012, the department received $820,797 in revenue but had $855,795 in expenses. Also, the county paid the department’s $110,808 in utilities, Dodson said, making the department $145,809 short.

The changes also will allow the county to offer a new three-year license and permanent license for dogs, as required by the recently passed state budget, Dodson said. The cost of a three-year license would be $54, while the permanent license would cost $180, which is equal to the cost of an annual license for 10 years.

Even with the proposed increases, Dodson said Summit is the lowest when compared to the state’s other large counties. Fees this year are $19 in Hamilton, $20 in Cuyahoga, $24 in Franklin and Montgomery and $25 in Lucas counties. Franklin does offer a discounted fee of $12 if a dog is spayed or neutered, which Dodson said was considered but ultimately not pursued for Summit.

The ordinance also will change the adoption fee for a dog from $90 to $76 plus the cost of a license. The $60 charge for cats and kittens will remain the same.

Dodson said the county’s Division of Animal Control has the lowest euthanasia rate of any other large county in the state.

“We go out of our way to adopt these dogs out and be as low a kill facility as we possibly can,” Dodson said.

In other business, the Public Works Committee put on time a resolution that would remove the Montrose roads Rothrock Road, Rothrock Loop and Springside Connector from the county highway system and leave their maintenance to Copley Township, in which they are located.

Marvin Evans, of the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, asked the committee for time because the county had yet to discuss the issue with township officials. In a follow-up interview after the meeting, he said he hoped that county and township officials would meet in the next week.

According to the resolution, the proposed change is due to the ruling this summer from Common Pleas Court Judge Alison McCarty that the city of Fairlawn was within its rights to close off a portion of Rothrock Road because of the planned development of a Wal-Mart Supercenter and Sam’s Club in the area.

That action changes the status of the roads because they no longer meet the criteria established by Ohio Revised Code for county roads, according to the resolution.

Also, the committee recommended a resolution confirming an award with Karvo Paving for the resurfacing of Yellow Creek Road from North Cleveland-Massillon Road to within 600 feet of Yellow Creek Lane in Bath Township at a cost of $628,242, with $553,304 paid with state grant funding.

Heidi Swindell, of the Engineer’s Office, said the project will be underway after Labor Day and be completed before the end of the year.

Also Monday, the Health and Human Services Committee recommended Council adopt a resolution approving a reduction in the number of members on the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board from 18 to 14, as required by the new state budget bill.

Dodson said he expected the decrease in members would be handled through attrition. He added that county officials are happy with the proposed change.

“The size of the board has created some issues,” he said.

In its meeting, the Finance Committee recommended Council adopt an ordinance amending the county’s competitive bidding ordinances that would allow the county to purchase without competitive bidding some items and services at less than State Term pricing or pricing at less than that procured by another political subdivision.

County Council will meet Aug. 12 at 4:30 p.m. for caucus followed by a regular meeting in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St.

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