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Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Food service license fees to increase

By Shelley Grieshop
WAPAKONETA - Health officials have proposed a hike in fees for restaurant owners and others who sell food to the public.
Members of the Auglaize County Board of Health on Tuesday heard first reading on the resolution to increase by an average of 13 percent all license fees for commercial food service operators.
"We haven't raised our fees in 10 years, and I'm proud of that," said Curt Anderson, director of the agency's environmental health division.
Anderson used a cost methodology system to establish the new fees, he told the board. He provided board members with a chart comparing the county's current, maximum allowed and recommended fees to those charged in Mercer, Hardin, Shelby and Allen counties.
The recommended fees for low- to high-risk businesses with facilities less than 25,000 square feet will increase by $40. Restaurants such as Bob Evans will pay $385 annually if the new fees are approved by the board on third reading.
Larger facilities will see increases ranging from $75 to $100. If the increase is approved, Walmart Supercenter will be charged $750 per year instead of $650.
Anderson called the increases "modest" after remaining unchanged for a decade. If approved in December, the new fees will become effective in January.
In other business, the board:
• Approved an order giving Kenny Hitchen, St. Marys, 14 days to have his dog vaccinated or show proof of a current rabies vaccination. The canine reportedly was a stray before being adopted by Hitchen.
• Was introduced to Lori Koenig, who recently was hired as the Women, Infants, Children (WIC) clerical specialist for the health department.
• Approved a $44,753 Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) grant for 2012, which is 6 percent less than received last year. The Auglaize County Health Department will receive $24,750 and Van Wert County Health Department will net the remainder.
Auglaize County serves as award administrator for the neighboring county.
• Approved an update to the sliding fee scale for services received at the health department's family planning clinic.
• Learned the next board of health meeting is 8:30 a.m. Nov. 8.
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