Perth South Council approves new user fees for 2015 – By Dan Rankin

At their meeting on Tuesday evening, Perth South council approved a number of new and increased user fees for certain township services including administration and animal control.
Some of the new or increased fees approved by council included a $30 hourly administration fee to be paid to the clerk for research and copying work carried out to satisfy a Freedom of Information request, a $10 fee for information provided on an electronic copy via CD-ROM or on a USB drive and a $0.50 fee for photocopy services.
Under the heading of “Development Processing Fees,” an encroachment agreement fee of $200 was introduced, while the minor variance application fee was increased from $350 to $500.
The cost of delivering and installing a 9-1-1 plate was increased from $40 to $60, while the delivery and installation of a plate and post went up from $50 to $70. Whenever property changes hands and the paperwork is processed, a $25 fee will now be charged to the new property owner.
Bag tags will be going up from $2 to $3.
Failure to register a pet dog, initially included in the report as a $10 fine, was increased to a $50 fine after a suggestion by Coun. William Jeffrey. “We do get a fair number of nuisance calls,” Perth South clerk Lizet Scott said.
The full list can be found online at PerthSouth.ca in the agenda for the May 19 Perth South Council meeting, with description of the charges and fees beginning on page 174 of the package.
The 2015 budget process included some of the proposed fees included in the list. Those that were not included would represent new revenue in the 2015 year and would be incorporated into future budgets.
User fees differ from general taxation as they are charged to an individual or group receiving a private benefit from services provided by the municipality, rather than for services provided to all residents. They are commonly used in public utilities (water supply, electricity), community service facilities (day care facilities, cemeteries) and recreational and cultural facilities (arenas, libraries, recreation programs).
Rationale for user fees, according to the report issued by Perth South staff, is that “those who clearly benefit from a service should be the ones to pay for the service,” and that they provide a fluctuating pool of funds that “mirrors demand for the service. As the demand for the service increases, so does the revenue to fund the service,” however there is no guarantee on the amount that will be collected. Staff noted that “changes in demand for a service can result in fluctuations to user fee revenues that may not result in sufficient revenue for 100 per cent cost recovery.”