The next time Summit County residents renew their dog licenses, it will cost a few bucks more.
Summit County Council voted Monday to boost annual dog license fees from $14 to $18.
County officials say the increase was needed to boost revenues for the Summit County Animal Control and Shelter, which operated at a loss the past two years. The county wants the agency to become self-sufficient.
The last dog license increase was in 2009, when fees went from $12 to $14.
The county also will begin offering three-year dog licenses and permanent licenses. The most recent state budget required counties to offer longer-term licenses, though annual licenses also will still be available.
The three-year license would cost $54 and a permanent license would be based on 10 years and would cost $180.
Besides the license changes, the county is increasing the kennel fees it charges those with five dogs or more from $50 to $80.
The increase in the dog and kennel license fees will raise about $200,000 a year, which is enough to cover the operating deficit that the animal shelter has been running, said Jason Dodson, chief of staff for County Executive Russ Pry.
Even with the increase to the dog license fees, Dodson said the county will still be lower than Ohio’s six largest counties, which average $21. Nine other counties were at or above $18 in 2012.
“The costs we can control we keep at a minimum,” he said of the shelter, adding that the expenses for food and medicine have increased for pets just as they have for humans.
Dodson said the county must increase its fees by $2 increments.
Brian Nelsen, director of finance and budget, gave council members his monthly budget update. He said revenues were up 6.28 percent in July over this time last year and are up a little over 2 percent for the year. The county has so far received about $1.38 million in casino revenues and expects to get about $3 million this year. This is still under the amount the state originally expected the county to get, which was about $5.5 million.
“We tried to be conservative,” Nelsen said of the county’s estimate for the casino revenue, which is in line with what it now expects to get.
Nelsen said the county is running within its budget, and he is still expecting about $1.3 million in reserves to be needed this year. He is projecting about $700,000 in reserves will be required next year.
In other business, County Council voted to reduce the number of members serving on the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Service Board from 18 to 14.
The board requested the change in light of the recent creation of the combined Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The Summit County board will now be made up of six members appointed by this state agency and eight by the Summit County executive, said Jerry Craig, the ADM board’s executive director.
The unpaid board, whose members must have expertise in the field, currently has three vacancies, Craig said.