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Health Dept. proposes 26 new charges

Plan would raise 6 other fees

Plan would raise 6 other fees

August 25, 2005|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY

tarar@herald-mail.com

If you're late in renewing your exotic bird permit license, you might end up with a $25 late charge from the Washington County Health Department.

Run a bed and breakfast? You could be paying the Health Department an annual $75 food service fee.

Nonprofit groups that serve moderate to high amounts of food might also be charged a $150 fee.

The charges are some of dozens proposed by the Health Department to either be created or increased.

Department officials said the proposals are necessary to keep pace with the increased demands of a growing county.

The environmental health office is responsible for numerous food service and restaurant inspections, water and sewer plan reviews, complaint investigations and other services.

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As an example, Health Department Health Officer William Christoffel said Wednesday the county had 600 restaurants when he took the job in 2000. That number is now 750 restaurants. That translates into more restaurant inspections.

"As the county grows, so does the need for environmental health services," he said.

Health officials presented the fee proposals Tuesday to the Washington County Commissioners, who also serve as the Board of Health.

The County Commissioners would vote to approve or reject the fee proposals as the Board of Health.

The department submitted a list of 36 fees to either be created or increased. Environmental Health Director Ted Gordon, however, told the commissioners the number was 32 - 26 proposed new fees and 6 fees proposed to be increased.

Christoffel said the numbers Gordon cited were correct and that he hadn't seen the list submitted to the commissioners.

The proposed fees include charging some nonprofit groups for food permits, fees for late campground permit license renewals and $100 fees for residents found to be in violation of various regulations, including nuisance issues like having junk piles, rats or stagnant water pools on their properties.

Should a resident not correct a violation, that person could be charged $1,000 under the proposal.

Gordon told the commissioners Tuesday the new fees and increases would generate approximately $550,000 for the environmental health office.

Christoffel said the goal is to make the environmental health office less dependent on state and county funding. He said the office's operating costs are about $900,000.

The commissioners were reluctant Tuesday to sign off on the fee proposals, saying they wanted more details.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said he wanted the Health Department to spell out exactly in what instances residents would be assessed a $1,000 fee if they don't correct a violation.

He said he wasn't in favor of a fee "anywhere close to that number."

Commissioner Doris J. Nipps said she couldn't support charging nonprofit groups for permits to serve food. She said groups such as the Washington County Commission on Aging would be charged $150 each for the permits.

"I can't support that," Nipps said. "I just can't."

Commission on Aging Executive Director Susan MacDonald said she had no comment Wednesday.

Christoffel said Wednesday the Health Department would heavily weigh Nipps' comments.

"We are going to take Commissioner Nipps' recommendations seriously," he said.

Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell said at the meeting he wanted to review the types and amount of fees other health departments in Maryland charge.

Christoffel said Wednesday that most health departments already charge fees for services that the Washington County Health Department does not.

"Many health departments supplement their environmental health units through fees," Christoffel said. "In the last five to seven years, we have not kept up with that."




Fees proposal


Washington County Health Department 2005-06 proposed fee increases and new fees:

New fees:

Food

Low priority nonprofit ? $75

Moderate/high priority nonprofit ? $150

Temporary nonprofits permits (1 event) ? $25

Temporary nonprofit permits (multiple events) ? $50

Bed and Breakfast ? $75

Plan Review of New Facilities ? $100

Plan Review Remodel ? $50

Food service license renewal late fee ? $50

Over-the-counter walk-in lab submittal ? $50

Water Supply/Community Services

Certified pool operators card ? $10

Plan review, mobile home parks ? $100

Plan review, campgrounds ? $100

Plan review, water treatment plants ? $100

Swimming pool/spa permit license renewal late fee ? $25

Exotic bird permit license renewal late fee ? $25

Campground permit license renewal late fee ? $25

Mobile home park license renewal late fee ? $25

Water Quality

Noncommunity sample for collection transport to lab ? $45

COP sampling fee, system 1 ? $100

COP sampling fee, system 2 ? $200

COP approval satellite lab ? $25

Sewer

Plan review, public water and sewer, one to four lots ? $25 per plat

Plan review, public water and sewer, five or more lots ? $100 per plat

Plan review, public water and septic ? $25 per lot

Plan review, private water and septic ? $50 per lot

Commercial site plans, public water and sewer ? $25

Commercial site plans, public water and septic ? $50

Commercial site plans, private water septic ? $100

Septic installers bi-annual license renewal late fee ? $50

Complaint Investigations ? septic system, water, air, nuisance abatement (such as rats, trash, debris, disease vectors)

Complaint investigation/inspection ? $100

Violation not corrected re-inspection fee ? $1,000

Proposed increases:

Food

Temporary profit permits (1 event) ? $15 to $25

Sewer

Septic permit ? $100 to $150

Sand mound ? $100 to $250

Septic Installers bi-annual license ? $100 to $200

Septic installers test ? $100 to $200

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