Commissioners raise dog license fees


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — 2024 will be a little more expensive for dog owners in Darke County. The Darke County Commission approved an increase to the dog license fee, as well as the adoption fee at its regular meeting on Thursday.

Residents paid $18 per license, plus a convenience fee for either an online purchase or at one of the distributors throughout the county this past year, but beginning on Dec. 1, when the new year’s license become available, local dog owners will be paying an additional $4 per license at $22 per dog. The adoption fee has also been raised to $78, which will make the adoption of a dog from the shelter $100. By law, the Shelter must raise its fees incrementally by $2. The minimum increase they can establish is $2. In addition to the single year license increase, the three-year and permanent license will also increase. The three-year license will be $66, and the permanent license will be $220.

Animal Control Officer Robert Bair shared the need to raise the cost by $4 in one year as opposed to incremental increases. “It was looked at because we needed to get the budget to where it needed to be. “We’ve been low for quite a while now,” he said. “We were one of the lower counties of the 88 counties in Ohio.”

Bair cited the cost of maintenance, immunizations, testing and payroll as the reason for the need to increase costs. He said, “We sat down and did a five-year outlook on what we’ve got coming. We have building maintenance. Our building is 22 years old. It’s getting old and it needs repairs. The floors need repairs, parking lot needs repairs, kennels are needing repairs and we need to do some updates to some things. We need to update vehicles, salary to be competitive out there in the market.”

Bair believes by increasing the revenue now, they will be able to fund the things that need to be done over the next five years.

The Darke County Animal Shelter is an outside fund and does not get subsidies from the county’s General Fund. “We have to generate these funds ourselves and this is how we do it by raising dog licenses,” said Bair. He believes raising the costs now should be enough to cover the Shelter’s costs over the next five to six years. Commissioner Matt Aultman explained because the Shelter operates under an outside fund, it is not supported by tax revenues of any kind. Their only source of income is through licensing fees, court fees they receive and the additional fees, such as adoption fees, pickup of owned dogs, euthanasia, etc.

Commissioner Larry Holmes said when the proposal was presented to the commissioners, they had extensive dialogue about future planning. “I commend Bair for doing a five-year plan to look this out instead of just being reactive. It could be a whole lot different number if we don’t plan for the future,” he said. “It’s not a given that things won’t change, and we won’t have to come back, but it’s the best look that we think we can get through that,” Holmes added.

Commissioner Aultman praised Bair for putting the five-year budget together as well as looking at the surrounding counties and their fees before presenting it to the Commission. “He was very thoughtful. This was not a knee-jerk reaction,” said Aultman.

Commissioners also approved a contract with Arcon Builders and APP Architecture, Inc. for weather proofing and repairs to the Darke County Courthouse exterior. The total cost for the project is $484,435. This is nearly $72,000 more than the original bid of $412,512, but Aultman explained there was an addendum to the bid required by the county’s facilities manager. A sealing issue was discovered that needs to be repaired on the courthouse. The contract was approved for the correct amount, but commissioners will also need to approve the addendum when it is presented to them.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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