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Council approves fees, charges for coming year

New fee added for security systems


The Lake Oswego City Council on Tuesday approved a master list of fees and charges for 2013 but put off making decisions about utility fees, which have the biggest and most obvious impact on citizens.

Each year the council approves fees and charges. The list includes everything from dog and business licenses to public records copies and franchise fees that appear on residents’ cable, gas and electricity bills. Utility fees are typically part of the process, but city leaders opted to punt those decisions to the next council, of which more than half will be new in January.

Most of the fees will be in place at the start of the new year, but utility fees typically don’t take effect until July.

The 2013 master list includes one new fee: a charge for security alarm permits. The annual permit fee is $25. There’s also a new $100 charge for the third false alarm in any year; already established fines for the fourth through seventh false alarms will increase by $25.

The updated list also includes increases to dog, business and liquor licenses. Dog license fees will rise by a dollar or two, and business and liquor license fees will rise by about $5 generally. Dog and business licensing fees hadn’t been raised in eight years despite swelling labor costs to provide those services, according to the city.

In contrast, some fees will decrease starting in January. Franchise fees are among those, as temporary fee hikes meant to raise money for local schools have expired.

The council voted 6-1 in favor of the master fees and charges. Councilor Mary Olson was the lone vote against the updated list.

Although Councilor Jeff Gudman ultimately supported the changes, he took issue with one aspect.

“The section added on, where we are now charging our citizens to have an alarm system that may not even be connected to something, continues to strike me as the wrong thing to be doing,” Gudman said. “I hope a future council will revisit this and reverse it.”