Contra Costa Environmental Health Updates Permit Fees
Friday, February 7, 2014
Contra Costa's Environmental Health Division has updated the fee structure for many of the annual permits it provides to county businesses and government agencies, including those that sell food to the public, operate swimming pools, dispose of medical waste, and many others.
The changes, approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 4, do include some substantial increases to fees that help bring the agency's permitting and fee structures in line with state and federal regulatory requirements, comparable fees charged by neighboring jurisdictions, and the county's costs for regulating permit holders to ensure public safety.
Affected permit holders include restaurants and markets, parks and community pools, school cafeterias, tattoo parlors, dentists, veterinarians and medical facilities of all sizes that need to dispose of medical waste, and systems that supply drinking water to small numbers of customers. They were all notified this week of the changes, the first significant change of Environmental Health fees since 2007.
"Some fees went down, some stayed the same, and some increased," said Environmental Health Director Marilyn Underwood. "We diligently assessed the time and work involved to inspect various types of facilities, and updated our fee structures to reflect those factors."
Contra Costa Environmental Health, a division of Contra Costa Health Services, examined three years of time-accounting data to develop a fee structure aligned with the inspection requirements of permit holders.
The new structure takes into account size and type of facility, and federal guidelines that increase the number of annual inspections for some food retailers, particularly those with complicated food preparation procedures or that serve particularly perishable foods, such as sushi restaurants.
Environmental Health's programs are exclusively funded by permit fees, and state law prohibits government agencies from charging fees higher than the actual cost of their services.
This year the county will also begin charging public schools, city recreation programs and other public agencies same permit fees it charges private businesses.
More information, including complete schedules of Environmental Health permit fees, is available at cchealth.org/eh.
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