The Neosho City Council voted on Tuesday to table a proposed increase to the city's pet license fees.

The Neosho City Council voted on Tuesday to table a proposed increase to the city's pet license fees.

John Harrington, the city's code enforcement officer, said it costs the city about $10 an animal for licensing, including metal tags, metal rings and forms, causing the city to lose money on some licenses.

Those licenses include the replacement tag, which is a $3 fee, and the one-year license for neutered pets, a $5 fee.
Harrington said the license fee increase came up as the city has been preparing for the Neosho Pet Fair, a licensing clinic the city will host on March 2.

"We were getting ready to re-order all this stuff and I was curious, what's this actually costing us per pet," Harrington said, noting that the current fees were adopted in 2009.

According to the request included in council's packet, the increase is also intended to help fund the city's animal control costs.

Proposed increases include: bumping the non-neutered one-year fee from $25 to $30, increasing the neutered one-year fee from $5 to $15, increasing the lifetime neutered fee from $10 to $40, raising the replacement tag fee from $3 to $10, and increasing the voluntary pick-up fee from $37 to $60.

Harrington said a voluntary pick-up occurs when a Neosho resident calls the city for assistance in giving up a pet. He said the city employee that retrieves that pet then takes it to the Carthage Humane Society, at a cost of $37 to the city, not including mileage.

Meanwhile, the lifetime non-neutered pet license fee of $100 was proposed to remain unchanged, while council members David Ruth, Steve Hart and Tom Workman questioned charging that amount and suggested reductions to that fee.
Ruth said he would not vote to approve the proposed increases as presented, while Hart said he was against raising the pet licensing fees.

"We're not here to make money on the dogs of Neosho," Hart said. "Let's make this something that people can afford, that's not a burden to them every year, because I just don't think it should be. We're supposed to be getting along with everybody, not making it more difficult for people to live in this city."

Charles Collinsworth, councilman, said the city should break even when it comes to pet licensing.

"Let's have a fair fee, one that's not a charity, one that's not excessive," Collinsworth said.

Richard Davidson, Neosho mayor, requested that the city take into consideration what surrounding cities are charging residents for pet licensing, to see if the current fees and proposals are comparable to the fees charged in other towns.
The council also heard from Neosho resident J.C. Herrell, who expressed disapproval of the proposed increases.
Herrell also approached council because he received a letter from the city notifying him that his pet licenses had expired, though Herrell said he bought his dogs lifetime tags several years ago.

Harrington said the letters were sent to several residents who appeared in the city's licensing database.
"All we can go back on is what we have a record of," Harrington said. "We're updating the database, that way we can make sure what we have is current."

Meanwhile, he said there have been numerous places to purchase city pet licenses, and the city may not have all of that information.

Currently, pet licenses are offered at the Neosho City Hall, as well as at some area veterinary clinics.
"We have one department for water, we have one department for tickets, it might be wise to narrow [pet licensing] down to one department," Davidson said

Harrington said city staff had already discussed changing the licensing procedure to take place only at city hall.
Harrell's situation also prompted city councilman Charles Collinsworth to propose that when the issue comes before council again at the Feb. 19 council meeting, the proposal include a provision for pet owners such as Harrell, whose lifetime tag purchase is not in the database.

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For more on Tuesday's Neosho City Council meeting, see Thursday's edition of the Neosho Daily News.