City raises shelter fees

November 07, 1991|By Patrick Gilbert | Patrick Gilbert,Evening Sun Staff

It will cost city residents more to rescue their dogs and cats from the city pound as a result of fee increases approved by the Board of Estimates.

The additional money generated by the fee increases will help the city retain about 25 employees in the city Department of Health's division of environmental health. These include animal control officers and inspectors who monitor air pollution, public pools and occupational health.

These jobs were imperiled when Gov. William Donald Schaefer last month announced cuts in state aid to local jurisdictions in an effort to close a $450 million state budget shortfall. The city was told it would lose about $26 million in state aid, $2.7 million of which went directly to the City Health Department.

Here are the fee increases approved yesterday by the board:

* The cost of reclaiming a pet from the pound will increase to $50-$60 from $25-$40. The minimum fee is $50 and it rises to a maximum of $60 based on the number of times the animal is taken to the pound.

* Animal boarding fees at the city animal shelter in southwest Baltimore more than double, to $15 a day from $6 a day. Pet owners must pay the boarding fee in addition to the cost of reclaiming the animal.

* Licensing fees charged private kennels double to $80 from $40 and fees for commercial kennels rise to $225 from $125.

JTC The board also set a $40 fee for drilling wells to monitor water leakage, water contamination and leakage from underground storage tanks.

Donald Torres, assistant health commissioner for environmental health, said his office gets about 400 requests a year for drilling monitoring wells.

The fees are part of an administration package that includes a City Council bill to charge restaurants an annual fee for food inspections. The estimated $1.2 million generated by the fee would enable the city to keep its 19 food service inspectors. The inspectors' jobs also were endangered by the state cuts.

Altogether, the administration is hoping its package will generate an additional $600,000 during the remainder of the fiscal year that ends June 30, 1992.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said yesterday he tried to come up with a new fee structure that "would be fair to business and would allow us to keep some vital city personnel in the area of environmental health."

The mayor said he already had instructed City Health Commissioner Elias A. Dorsey to find a way to avoid laying off some 1,200 school nurses who also would have fallen victim to the state aid reductions.

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