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Arlington City Council to discuss dog licenses, software purchase at work session

ARLINGTON — Keeping Fido licensed in Arlington could soon get more expensive.

On Monday, June 14, the City Council will be discussing whether it will raise the city's existing dog licensing fees.

The city is proposing dog owners with unaltered canines pay a $20 annual fee, regardless of the sex of the dog, while owners whose dogs are spayed or neutered pay a $10 annual fee.

Currently, dog owners pay a $5 annual fee for each non-neutered male dog and $10 for each non-spayed female dogs.

The new city fees would also include annual fee categories for altered dogs owned by senior citizens ($5) and altered and microchipped dogs ($5).

If approved in its current form, the city would also increase license late fees from $5 to $10, as well as hike its fee for replacing city-issued dog tags from $1.50 to $5.

Dog licenses generate a small amount of revenue for the city, according to a memo issued by Kristin Banfield, city of Arlington assistant administrator and spokeswoman.

Banfield said that the city is projecting to collect approximately $2,000 under the new fee structure.

The city spent more than $25,500 on animal control expenses in 2009, prompting officials to sign a new contract with the Humane Society of Skagit County.

That contract is expected to cut those costs to about $7,100 for 2010.

Up until earlier this year, the city had contracted with the Everett Animal Shelter.

According to the memo, officials issued 85 lifetime licenses and 46 annual unaltered licenses in 2009. No replacement tags or late fees were charged.

The city's dog licensing fees have not changed in the past 10 years, Banfield said.

Also on the June 14 workshop agenda, the Council will provide direction on whether the city should purchase a new computer software accounting program.

Jim Chase, the city's financial director, is recommending that the Council authorize the city to purchase the $41,728 system, which could also be used at the city's airport and cemetery offices.

Chase said in a memo that some challenges with the city's old program have come up during the department's switch from bi-montly to monthly utility billing.

Customers began receiving those monthly utility bills earlier this month.

Chase said that 61 cities in Washington state use the program being proposed for purchase.

The company that wrote the city's current program, which was purchased in 1992, is no longer in business.

The Council work session will take place at 7 p.m. at the Arlington City Council Chambers (110 E. Third Street).

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