City considering increased animal shelter fees

The Great Falls Animal Shelter is proposing changes to their fee structure.

City Commissioner will review the proposed changes on first read during their Sept. 5 meeting and be asked to set a public hearing for Sept. 19.

The proposed changes “reflect the increasing costs of providing services to the public while recouping some of the costs to provide those services,” according to city staff.

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The proposed change would restructure animal registration to move from annual licensing to a lifetime only license, which increased licensing participation nationwide, according to staff.

The proposed fees are:

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Commissioners adopted the current fee structure in 2015. That structure specifically addressed cremation fees and created three categories of cremation-general, segregated and individual.

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In 2021, the city shelter converted to the hydro-incinerator, rendering individual cremation a nonviable or cost effective option, according to staff. The segregated cremation process does return individual animal ashes to the owner in a memorial package.

The other fess related to licensing and services haven’t been adjusted since 2014.

The current fees are:

animal shelter fees 2015animal shelter fees 2015 2

Changing the animal registrations from annual licensing to a lifetime only option will increase compliance with the city’s animal registration ordinance, according to staff. Shelter records indicate only about 10 percent of animal licenses are renewed annually.

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The new fees were included in the current fiscal year’s budget that commissioners adopted in July.

The proposed fees would reflect increased operational costs at the city shelter and staff believes the new fee structure would generate an estimated $20,000.