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Health Dept. anticipates rate changes

November 5, 2012
Morning Journal News

LISBON - The Columbiana County Health Department is preparing for rate changes for services being rendered.

Health Commissioner Wesley Vins said in some cases the rates are going to have to increase. The changes are based on actual expenses and fees, not randomly chosen.

For example, the existing real estate evaluation fee is $150 for septic only, while the well evaluation fee is $60 and the combined fee to have both evaluated is $175. The proposed fees are $240 for septic only, $60 for an existing well and $275 for both. By comparison Mahoning County charges $250, Carroll County $200, Trumbull County $250 for septic and $92 for a well, and Stark County $260.

Vins said in some cases the fees have not been increased in several years and the health department has tried to put it off as long as possible. The well evaluation rate was approved in 2009.

Pool licensing fees would increase also. Now a main pool costs $303 locally, plus a $72 additional fee for the Ohio Department of Health. A second pool costs $144 locally plus $47 in state fees. While the state fees would not change, the local fees would. A public swimming pool would cost $340 and a public spa $174. A $144 fee would be the charge for a special use pool, which is unchanged.

Fees for checking animals for rabies would also increase. Vins said if an animal has been exposed to a human, such as a bite, and the animal is wild or stray the health department pays for the rabies check. However, if the animal has an owner and cannot be quarantined or if someone sees a suspicious animal and wants it checked, the person is responsible for the costs. The charge will be $85 per specimen with an additional $25 fee for the veterinary clinic for bats and $50 for a fur bearing mammal.

"Human exposure is our main concern," Vins said, adding the Lisbon Veterinary Clinic works well with the health department to provide rabies vaccines and help process potentially rabid animals.

Besides the confirmed rabid bat found in this county, rabid animals were found in neighboring counties last year. Vins said it is important for the owners of dogs and cats in Columbiana County to realize it is against the law not to vaccinate their pets.

"Rabies are still here and we need to remain vigilant," Vins said.

Finally, the health department is looking at fees for commercial food licenses. Some for smaller commercial locations will increase, while others for larger commercial locations will decrease. Vending licenses will go down, although temporary event licenses will increase.

Non-commercial food licenses will also increase for smaller locations and decrease in some cases for the largest locations.

A public hearing will be scheduled and the new rates will not be approved until after the hearing.

In matters before the board at its recent meeting:

- Approval was given for two board orders, one against Stephen Johnson, Grafton Road, Salem, for allegedly dumping solid waste on his property. The second was for Jimmie or Casey Jones, state Route 14, East Palestine, for alleged sewage disposal issues.

- The board granted variances for Donald Cross, West 14th Street, Salem; John and Elaine Neff, Rochester Road, East Rochester; and Roger W. Walker, state Route 518, Lisbon, for set-back or other septic tank improvement issues.

- The board failed to approve a variance for a mobile home belonging to Patricia Ward. After the health department approved a 40-foot set-back plan for a septic and when the mobile home was placed it was less than the 10-foot requirement. Vins said it was actually less than three feet.

- The board approved contracts with Mahoning County for a backup plumber for the north half of the county and with Carroll County for our county to provide a sanitarian at times.



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