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Paonia considers changes in fees

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The Town of Paonia is in the process of restructuring its fee schedule, which means some fees may go up substantially, while others will remain the same or jump slightly.

Speaking at the July 28 meeting of the board of trustees, town manager Jane Berry said that many of the town's current fees are in the $10-$25 range. Some fees, like the cost to rent the town's Community Center room and the $5 pet tag fee, are likely to remain the same. "We want to encourage people to license their dogs," said Berry.

The cost of municipal services, such as weekly garbage collection, which has seen no increase since 2007, wastewater fees, which have not increased since 2005, and permit fees are being considered for rate hikes.

Berry asked trustees and staff to consider each of the fees currently in the town code, to prioritize each of the services, and to consider the time it takes the staff to handle those services and how they effect town resources in recommending appropriate fees.

The police department and the cost of committing crimes is likely to see the biggest jump. Berry said she is seeking recommendations from the department, and asking officers to consider all the work that goes into dealing with individual crimes, such as court time, reports and travel. "Think about the time you have involved with the incident," said Berry.

In making recommendations, Berry reminded staff and trustees that "we only seek to recoup part of our costs, never all of our costs."

The fee schedule "will be a living, breathing thing that will be subject to amendment on at least an annual basis," said Berry, adding that with the 2016 budget due to the state in October, "timing is everything."

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