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Health board hiking food service licenses


November 29, 2012
Morning Journal News

Food service operators in the city can expect their licenses to cost a lot more next year after the Salem City Health Board approved a reworked cost methodology for fees Wednesday.

According to Mayor John Berlin, they'll still be paying less than they would if the Columbiana County Health Department was handling the food service program.

Food service operators can hear all about the proposed fee schedule during a public hearing set for 9:30 a.m. Dec. 27.

The board held first reading for the proposed 2013 fees after accepting the cost methodology based on 30 percent of the cost of the sanitarian's salary and the hours spent on the program.

A second reading is planned during a special meeting set for 9 a.m. Dec. 5. The third and final reading is planned during the board's next regular meeting set for 10 a.m. Dec. 27, where they'll be able to consider any comments from the public hearing.

When the health department first returned to the city a few years ago, the fees were based on the county's cost methodology since the city had no recent history to determine the time spent on the program. Last year, city health department officials did a cost methodology of their own which prompted them to cut the fees in half.

Earlier this month when Health Commissioner Richard Setty presented the first cost methodology to board members for next year, the board questioned the accuracy of the amount of hours spent on the food service program.

The thinking was that the number reported of 160 hours didn't cover all the time for activities such as phone calls and paperwork and other activities related to the program besides the inspections.

Setty said the sanitarian went back and captured all the extraneous time he spent on the food program that he had recorded but had not included in the previous report. The new number was 614 hours, which seemed more reasonable to board members.

"I'm much more comfortable with this," board member Judy Sicilia said.

When asked by the mayor if he was comfortable with the figures, Setty said he was, explaining that his primary concern was being able to document the numbers, which have to be presented to the state.

The new 2013 fees being proposed for facilities with less than 25,000 square feet (with the 2012 fee in parentheses) are: risk level 1, $106.20 ($52.45); risk level 2, $116.19 ($55.96); risk level 3, $197.26 ($84.42); and risk level 4,$242.79 ($100.40). All fees listed include a $28 portion which has to be submitted to the state.

The city health district currently has no facilities over 25,000 feet, but the fees for those facilities (if any come to be) will be: risk level 1, $141.35 ($64.79); risk level 2, $147.34 ($66.89); risk level 3, $452.88 ($174.14); and risk level 4, $478.44 ($183.12). These fees also include a $28 portion which has to be submitted to the state.

For vending operations, the fee is expected to go from $18.61 to $18.99, with $6 going to the state. The numbers for mobile facilities and temporary facilities (per event), which all goes to the city, were listed as $89.73 ($39.99) for mobile and $179.45 ($11.99) for temporary.

Plan review fees will remain 100 percent of the license fee for a new establishment and 50 percent of the license fee for a remodeling.

The effective date of the proposed fees will be Feb. 1.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at



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