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Salem Health Dept. passes license fee hikes

December 28, 2012
Morning Journal News

SALEM - New food service license fees for 2013 will take effect Feb. 1 after the Salem City Health Board approved the third and final reading for the fee increases Thursday.

No one showed up for a required public hearing the board hosted on the fees at 9:30 a.m., a half hour before the regular meeting began. About 100 food service operators were invited to attend the hearing concerning the higher rates.

The new 2013 fees 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 fees for facilities over 25,000 feet 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.

The fee for vending operations will increase from $18.61 to $18.75 and the license for mobile facilities will increase from $39.99 to $117.73 per event. The cost for temporary facilities will increase from $11.99 to $52.

A new food service category was added for mini markets, described by city Health Commissioner Richard Setty as a vending machine without a coin slot or a cafeteria-like setting with prepackaged foods and no cashier or attendant.

The setting where a mini market could be located would be a factory or office building. The perishable food, such as wrapped sandwiches, would be in a machine, but the purchaser would pay with a debit card.

The state set the fee for 2013 and 2014 for mini markets as $100, with $90 going to the local health department and $10 to the state. For 2015, the fee will be based on each local health department's cost methodology.

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.

In other business, the board was still trying to get some clarification regarding hours for a deputy registrar for vital statistics. Kathy Dugan, the health department nurse who had been deputy registrar under the previous registrar remains on medical leave, but Setty asked the board for permission to speak with her to spread her schedule out when she returns.

She had been working 20 hours per week over two-and-a-half days, but he wanted more coverage for when the current registrar is off for some reason.

Board members Steve Faber and Judy Sicilia both questioned the idea, with Sicilia noting that Dugan travels a distance to get there and it's more effective to have her there for a longer chunk of time for scheduling immunizations and doing the paperwork than having the time spread out a few hours each day.

She told Setty he needed to be making the decisions with the staff regarding coverage, not just changing someone's hours.

In another matter, Sicilia questioned whether there was any way for the department to recoup the cost of euthanizing an animal for rabies testing after a bite incident. The department had a recent case where a stray cat bit a woman and the woman's husband managed to grab the cat and put it in a cage. The department had a veterinarian euthanize the cat so it's brain could be tested for rabies.

Setty said it wouldn't really be appropriate to charge the person who was bitten, with Mayor John Berlin, president of the board, adding it's one of those services the department has to provide, especially in the case of a stray when shot records would not be known. Setty said the next step might be to talk with local veterinarians and try to negotiate a flat rate for euthanizing an animal, packaging it and shipping it to the state for testing.

Board members briefly discussed a decrease in the number of childhood immunizations given in December and talked about flu shots, with Sicilia saying she would like to see the department use the vaccine in stock. Board members also looked over a packet of information to be provided to Salem Community Hospital for new parents after the birth of a child regarding immunization services offered by the city health department.

The board will reorganize and hold its next meeting at 10 a.m. Jan. 22, which is a Tuesday.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at



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