Revelstoke city hall unveiled proposed new fee hikes for city services at their Nov. 13 meeting. They included modest yet significant increases to dog licenses and impoundment fees.
Many of the proposed cemetery fee increases are far more dramatic, doubling and tripling the existing fees in some cases, and introducing brand new fees.
The increases are part of an ongoing overhaul of city fees to move them towards a ‘cost-recovery’ model. The idea is to shift the cost of city services away from general taxation and make the services more dependent on fees charged for them.
The city introduced new building and recreation fee increases earlier this year; these increases are a continuation of that process.
Getting an annual tag for your fixed dog will increase from $15 to $20, if you do it before the earlybird Feb. 28 deadline. The new fee from Feb. 28 forward is $30, a $10 increase over the current $20 fee.
The late licence fee for an unspayed dog will increase from $45 to $80.
Dog got loose? The proposed first impoundment fee will increase from $30 to $50. Second offence? It jumps from $60 to $75. Strike three? It will jump from $120 to $150.
At their Feb. 13 meeting, council gave the first three readings of new fee schedule for cemetery services.
The cost of an adult cemetery plot and columbarium niche will more than double from $200 to $441 – plus taxes. The plot care fund will also increase from $200 to $441. The capital investment fund fee will jump from $150 to $173. The total increases from $550 to $1,055.
Getting city staff to open and close a plot for a funeral will cost much more. The standard fee for adults will increase from $405 to $446. However, if you request a weekday funeral after 2 p.m., the fee increases from $150 to a whopping $612. Need to hold the funeral on the weekend? The standard opening and closing fee will jump from $250 to $722.
In response to questions, city staff said the increase is due to the need to pay staff double time after hours.
The cemetery fees were last updated in 2000.
The fee schedule also includes brand new cemetery fees. For example, new columbarium fees at the Mt. Mackenzie Columbarium will cost $893 for a niche, $231 for a carefund and $347 for the capital improvement fund fee. The total? $1,471 – and a larger or better-located niche will cost you even more.
Many fees for more peripheral services at the cemetery have much more modest increases. For example, a double depth grave to permit a second burial in the same grave will jump from $200 to $231 – an option that may become more popular following the fee increases.
In response to media questions, city staff said the increases were needed to bring the cemetery to a ‘cost-recovery’ model, and to factor in the cost of snow removal, which wasn’t full accounted for before.
City staff also agreed to investigate outlining the increases in a simple PDF form. This followed media complaints that the new fee increases were inaccessible to the public because the layout and explanation of the increases was cryptic and hard to understand.
The bylaw is now at first reading, meaning members of the public wanting to provide feedback should get in touch with the mayor or city councillors soon.