Dakota County considers increasing fees

  • Article by: LAURIE BLAKE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 12, 2013 - 2:15 PM

The application fee for a license to carry a gun may go down, but many county fees are proposed to go higher.

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Dakota County is not raising property taxes next year, but it does plan to raise fees the county charges for various services.

The county’s financial services division is proposing a 2 percent increase for a large number of fees, including some park fees, map fees, plat fees and fees for jail inmates.

One prominent fee is proposed to come down, however. The application fee for a permit to carry a gun is proposed to drop from $100 to $75 and the renewal fee from $85 to $75 because the county has found that is enough to cover the cost of the service.

The county sets fee prices to cover the cost of delivering the service for which the fee is paid, said Stephanie Shawback, director of the county’s financial services division. In 2006, the county determined the cost of each service and since then has increased fees to keep up with inflation, she said.

The increases proposed for next year in part reflect a possible 3 percent raise for county employees, as well as inflationary increases in the costs of energy, fuel, materials and supplies, Shawback said.

The proposed 2 percent increase ranges from as little as $1 to as much as $1,000 in the case of sanitary landfill licenses.

Some fees will be new. A fee of $60 has been established for an overnight stay in the new camper cabins coming for the first time next year in Whitetail Woods Regional Park.

Hunters also will encounter a new $10 daily parking permit fee for waterfowl hunting at Bud’s Landing at Spring Lake Park Reserve near Hastings. That fee is in force now.

If all the proposed fee increases are approved, they would bring in an extra $65,550 in revenue for the county next year.

The fees under discussion generate about $6.1 million, which is about 2 percent of the county’s $292 million 2013 budget.

Members of the public will have the chance to comment on the fee increases at a public hearing before the County Board when it meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Dakota County government center in Hastings. If approved by the board, most of the higher fees would take effect Jan. 1.

Some of the changes:

• With a 2 percent increase, property line maps showing street names and addresses will cost $2.30, up from $2.26 this year. And a large aerial photo of a city will cost $52.13 next year, up from $51.11 this year.

• The sheriff is proposing to raise the fee people pay for each day they spend in county jail, from $21 now to $25 next year. And the fee for inmate urinalysis would rise from $10 to $15.

• The adult probation fee is recommended to rise from $256 to $261 for misdemeanors and from $335 to $342 for felony offenders.

• Juvenile detention services would rise from $248 to $253 per day.

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