The Town of St. Paul will be reviewing how the Town handles issuing animal licenses; including the efficiency of payment options. The Town is looking into whether or not they can introduce online payment options for animal licenses. There are a few shortfalls to paying online, including not being able to issue a unique animal license number and the cost associated with setting up this option.
The Town issues unique dog registration numbers, and unfortunately, when paying online it is impossible to associate a number with the payment. This would cause problems with linking an animal to an owner.
The online payment program would cost the Town a one-time set up fee of $17, 025, from the software provider, Bellamy Software. In addition to this fee there would be a $3,087.00 annual charge associated with the program , to set up a payment processor. The cost seemed quite large to Council considering the Town’s dog license revenue is $4,000/annually. There are more fees associated with accepting online payments; there is usually a percentage of each transaction held by the service company, and credit cards typically charge 2 percent. A dog license for St. Paul is $10, Council was unsure if the cost would be worth the ease of use for residents.
Councillor Norm Noel suggested that the Town look into lifetime dog licensing. A resident would register a dog once in the dog’s life, at a higher fee. The Town already uses this type of licensing for cats. Councillor Noel argues this would eliminate the problem with issuing numbers with the online payments, and the cost associated with paying each year. The problem with this option is when residents move the don’t always inform the Town, which leaves Bylaw Officers stuck when trying to locate the owner of an animal. Also, when couples split up there has been some issues with who the animal belongs to.
Councillor Noel moved that Town administration perform a service review over the next few months and gather information on how many licences are issued and if residents seem to want online payment options. Administration will also use the time to explore other online payment options, such as PayPal that may be less expensive for the Town to implement.
St. Paul Council passed this motion and will evaluate its current licensing procedures and explore other programs and costs.