Monday, September 03, 2001

Auditor objects to dog fee increase

But commissioner defends 44% hike

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes has asked county commissioners to reconsider their increase of dog license fees.

        Commissioners John Dowlin and Tom Neyer last week voted to increase the fee by 44 percent — from $9 to $13. The cost of owning a dog kennel also was increased from $45 to $65.

        County Administrator Dave Krings said the increase puts Hamilton County in line with fees charged in other counties around the state.

        Not so, said Mr. Rhodes.

        The average fee in Ohio is $10, Mr. Rhodes' letter states.

        “As you know I am deeply concerned for the continued success of the licensing program given the whopping increase,” Mr. Rhodes wrote. “It is unfair to place the entire burden of supporting a program which benefits everyone on law-abiding dog owners alone.”

        Mr. Dowlin said the increase is necessary.

        “You regret having to pay taxes, period,” Mr. Dowlin said. “We are low in this regard (the dog license fee), particularly when we're concerned about losing $10 million in state aid this year plus we're losing federal money and the sales tax is down.”

        The auditor said increasing the license fee because of budget shortfalls doesn't add up in light of the commissioners' decision to eliminate the real estate transfer tax. “There is a glaring inconsistency,” Mr. Rhodes said, adding that Butler, Clermont and Warren counties charge $10 for dog licenses.


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