June 25, 2013

Augusta council considering hike of accident report, loose dog fees

By Keith Edwards
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — The cost of getting a copy of accident and other police reports would quadruple, from $5 to 20, under a proposal that goes to city councilors Thursday.

Police Chief Robert Gregoire, who has proposed the fee changes, said the fees haven't increased since 1981.

The price of a wayward pooch getting nabbed by the animal control officer would also increase, with dog impound fees proposed to increase from $15 to $35 for a first offense, from $25 to $50 for a second and $50 to $75 for a third.

Gregoire said the most recent memo he has been able to find on animal impound fees indicates they've been at their current levels since at least 1998.

He said demands on the police department for documents are "ever-increasing." The cost for supplies has increased significantly since fees were last raised, the incidents resulting in reports require time to investigate and it takes clerical staff time to research and produce the documents, he said.

In a reversal of a previous proposal, the cost of fingerprinting, which was previously proposed to increase from $10 to $20, would remain at $10 under Gregoire's most recent recommendation.

Gregoire also recommends the city partner with to allow people to get accident reports online. He suggests a fee of $15 for that service, a $5 reduction in the fee proposed for getting accident reports in person. He said the lower fee would be meant to encourage use of the online service.

"The online fee of $15 would provide a $5 convenience fee to and the remaining balance of $10 would be paid quarterly to the city," Gregoire said in a memo to City Manager William Bridgeo. "There would also be a reduction of personnel time, printing and mailing costs."

City councilors are scheduled to discuss the proposal at their informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at Augusta City Center.

Councilors are also scheduled to:

• discuss "traffic calming" options on Hicks Road, which, according to Public Works Director Lesley Jones could include painting stripes on the sides of the road, painting large 25 MPH symbols on the pavement, installing speed bumps in the pavement and installing traffic islands;

• discuss allowing a beer garden area for AugustaFest;

• discuss a federal public safety grant program;

• discuss a Planning Board recommendation to create a new zoning district, the Kennebec Lockes District, on a section of the east side of the Kennebec River.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

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