News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 18, 2013

Health Department wants to increase permit fees

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The Vigo County Health Department wants to increase permit fees for retail and temporary food establishments.

The county Health Board on Wednesday approved the proposed increases, which now must go before county commissioners and be legally advertised. There will be opportunity for public comment.

No effective date has been established.

Travella Myers, environmental health supervisor, said it’s been several years since the fees have been increased. She reviewed permit fees in other counties and “we are well below some of the other counties,” she said.

Currently, annual permit fees for retail food establishments are $60 for one to five employees; $80 for six to 10 employees; $100 for 11 through 20 employees; and  $120 for 21 or more employees.

Under proposed changes, that would be consolidated to two categories: for one through 15 employees, the annual permit would cost $110, and for 16 or more employees, the annual permit fee would be $150.

Currently, a plan review, pre-opening and opening inspection for retail food establishments is $100. Under the proposed change, the cost would be $125.

For a bed and breakfast with 14 or fewer rooms, the cost would go from $60 to $100.

For mobile food service, Vigo County residents only, the cost would go from $70 to $75.

For temporary food establishments, Vigo County residents, permits currently cost  $30 per day up to a maximum of $60. Under the change, it would go to $40 per day up to a maximum of $80.

For non-Vigo County residents, the permit fee for a temporary food establishment is currently $30 per day up to a maximum of $90. That would go up to $40 per day up to a maximum of $100 under the proposed changes.

Permit fees for vending operators, catering and farmers market establishments would remain the same.

For vending operators, the fee is $20 per machine up to a maximum of $100.

A farmers market permit for May 1 through Oct. 31 is $30, while an indoor farmers market permit from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 is $50.

Nonprofit groups are exempt from the fees, Myers said.

The fees generated go to the county’s general fund.

The Health Board also approved a personal protection equipment policy. The State Board of Accounts has asked for such a policy to justify expenditures on employees’ personal safety equipment such as reflective vests, gloves, safety shoes, etc. Other county departments also must have such a policy, said Joni Wise, health department administrator.

Wise also updated the board on the proposed tire storage amendment, which will go before County Commissioners next week. The health board previously acted on it.

One change has been made, at the request of commissioners.

Initially, the health department proposed a change to remove a 10-day grace period to correct violations and replace that with the word “immediately.”

Now, the health department has agreed to change the word “immediately” and give 48 hours to correct violations.

“That’s all right with us because there are  so many other improved areas within the proposed [tire storage] amendment,” Wise said.

The county first enacted a tire storage ordinance in 2006 as a way to reduce the breeding of mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus.

Some other proposed changes include increased fines for improper storage, with a $50 fine for the first offense, $100 for the second and $250 for the third and subsequent offense. In addition, failure to produce proper documentation of proper tire disposal would result in a fine of $100 per day for the first offense and $250 for the second and subsequent offenses.



Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.