Increased fees for city services

Trapping a wild animal, interning the dead and getting a handicapped parking permit may soon cost Whitehorse residents more.

Trapping a wild animal, interning the dead and getting a handicapped parking permit may soon cost Whitehorse residents more.

Last week, the Whitehorse finance department presented a list of revisions to the city’s fees and charges bylaw.

As part of the city’s annual budget review, managers from all departments were asked to review the bylaw and suggest changes.

The finance department sifted through those suggestions and came up with more than 100 amendments.

Many of them are simply changes to wording, but there is also a list of more than 30 fees that could go up.

They include increased charges for disposing of sewage and e-waste, liquor-licensing inspections, permits for fireworks displays and rental charges for recreational facilities.

Though the increased fees are expected to generate $120,000, it’s not expected to add much to the city coffers, said Valerie Anderson, the city’s manager of financial services.

“For most of our fees we’re not trying to raise money, we’re trying to cover our costs,” she said.

But not all the fees are going up. And at least one is going down.

Under the proposed changes, the city will eliminate a $500 fee for serious fire damage.

It used to be that when a fire that caused more than $5,000 damage to a building, the city charged the owner for the emergency response.

When the fire department reviewed what municipalities in BC were doing, it found that most jurisdictions had done away with those fees.

While majority of the time that charge was covered by insurance, city council decided that levying such a fee wasn’t necessary, said Anderson. 

“If your house burns down, the last thing you want is a $500 bill being handed to you,” she said.

Getting rid of that fine is expected to cost the city more than $35,000 next year.

The bylaw is still under review and will be coming back for a final vote in the next few weeks.

Contact Josh Kerr at joshk@yukon-news.com