County raises selected business feesThe cost to operate a restaurant, tattoo/piercing shop or any other business that requires a health department permit is rising in Douglas county.
By: Shelley Nelson, The Daily Telegram
The cost to operate a restaurant, tattoo/piercing shop or any other business that requires a health department permit is rising in Douglas county.
The county board on Thursday approved rate hikes that will increase the cost of health permits by about 20 percent this year. The sole exception is establishments that have more than $1 million in food sales with food processing. Those permits increase 55 percent, from $550 to $850.
For grocery store permits, Douglas County had been charging about half of the state average, so the department put a flat $300 increase on the high-end food sales permits, said Pat Heiser of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Supervisors Dan Corbin and Alan Jaques, both of whom would be affected by the increase, abstained from Thursday night’s vote. Supervisor Bean Prettie, who is subject to health permit fees at her tavern, did not attend the meeting.
“These fees have not been adjusted since 2002, and at that time, we were below the statewide average,” Heiser said. “Currently, the fees in the retail food industry are 28 percent lower than the average charge statewide.”
He said while the department looked at a comparison of what other counties charge when re-evaluating the fees, staff also looked at the overall cost of delivering the service.
The department is an agent for three state agencies and provides inspections and issues permits and pays administrative fees to the state based on 10 percent of what the state charges for the permits, Heiser said. In the next couple years, he said, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is expected to raise its fees by 25 percent, and the Department of Family and Human Services is anticipating a 20 percent increase, which would have a direct impact on the costs Douglas County faces.
Heiser said the permit increases are necessary to cover the increasing costs of inspections and fees paid to the state. The increases are expected to annually net the county an additional $61,000.
Contact Shelley Nelson at (715) 395-5022 or snelson@