I like many Councillors have been approached by a number of local residents concerned about the significant increase in Dog Boarding Licence Fees for 2018 where the current figure of £173 p.a. is projected to increase to £371 p.a.
I have been through the tables contained under Agenda Item 66 and it appears to be missing.
Could the Exec Member responsible for this area kindly explain how they can justify such a massive increase (114%)?
This issue was first brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago by Councillors Richard Dolinski and Alison Swaddle.
I agree with you that the increase is large and therefore difficult for dog boarders to accommodate so I asked for our charging to be reviewed.
The increase in the Dog Boarding licence application fee was agreed, and I have been trying to track which meeting agreed it and I have been told this evening it was the Executive in November 2016 that approved it as part of the budget setting process for 2017/18.
The price reflects the cost of carrying out the service and hence for there to be a lower price and still recover costs, the amount of work would have to decrease; so we would have to do less.
Options, including this, are being considered and we plan to bring forward a proposal early in the New Year. Whilst this issue is being considered, the Council will not take enforcement action against any person who has not renewed their licence.
I think there is some movement there. I think the issue is that a lot of the dog boarders are semi-retired or retired people who look after the odd dog every now and then and they are not a professional business as such. The message I have received from three or four people who have contacted me is that with such a high fee some have even started to say that they will not do it. But I think it is encouraging that if you can get a fee down to what it was before or close to it I think that might help. So the issue is are you able to differentiate between what I would call a professional business where I can see there being a lot of activity to somewhere where you have got a small business which is looking after dogs on a sort of irregular basis because it is the smaller that is being impacted by this increase?
That is an interesting idea and is worthy of having a look at as well. Something like £371 if you are charging £10 a day for a dog or whatever it takes quite a long time to recoup that fee. So it is quite a price. The flip side of that, of course, is the whole point of licencing is to make sure that things are done properly eg cut down the spread of disease in the animal population so it is a balance but we are looking at it and will certainly take your views into account and come back with something probably early in the new year that we can all have a look at.