LISBON — The Columbiana County Health District Board held its second reading of the proposed increase in food license fees for next year during its regular meeting Thursday.
The potential increases are based on a cost methodology process which takes into account the amount of time put into the program by health district employees.
The health district inspects food service establishments, such as restaurants, food trucks or any commercial operation that serves food, looking for health and safety violations.
A public hearing will be scheduled sometime later this year to give license holders a chance to comment on the fees.
The proposed new increased fees for food service establishments, by risk level and size, with each including a $28 portion that goes to Ohio Department of Health, showing the current rate first, then the increased rate include: commercial under 25,000 square feet, risk level 1, $251 increasing to $314, risk level 2, $281 to $351, risk level 3, $524 to $648, risk level 4, $661 to $814; commercial 25,000 square feet and over, risk level 1, $356 to $443, risk level 2, $374 to $465, risk level 3, $1,293 to $1,584, risk level 4, $1,370 to $1,677; mobile, from $125 to $133.
Late fees were listed as 25 percent above the license cost.
Temporary event fees decreased from $67 to $54.68. There’s no ODH fee attached for temporary events.
The vending fee, which is also based on the previous year’s consumer price index, increased from $19.88 to $20.78. Each figure includes $6 that must be sent to the state.
In announcements, Health Commissioner Wes Vins reported that the county health district received glowing reviews from the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), which accredits public health departments, after submission of the district’s annual report and particularly for its response following the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine.
“PHAB referred to our work as ‘impressive work’ that has been completed to support the response related to the East Palestine train derailment,” Vins said. “They specifically talk about using our health department’s plans and ‘leveraging and working with local partnerships, elevating communication and information sharing, equipping staff with support to provide effective response’ and our testimony before the Senate.”
Vins said such a compliment is rare from the oversight board and a testament to the dedication of the health district employees.
“They closed by saying ‘Thank you all for your hardwork and serving the community members of Columbiana County during an incredibly stressful situation,’” Vins said. “Knowing how critical they are of public health departments and their thoroughness, I was pretty impressed with PHAB as to how we responded. I wanted to share that and compliment the staff on a great job.”
The board also approved the Lisbon Board of Public Affairs agreement. Vins explained the agreement is a continuance of an existing agreement with Lisbon to assist the village with monitoring commercial connections to backflow prevention
“The municipal water system has to have backflow devices on commercial properties to prevent contamination from contaminating the entire water system. We help them by doing the mailings and following up on the backflow testing program,” he explained. “This is just a continuation. There is no change in fee. We have been doing this for four years and this would be, I believe, our third contract. It’s a very successful program that works well for them.”
Vins added that it is a service the health board would perform for other municipalities within the county as well.
In budgetary changes, the board approved a reduction in the official certificates for Get Vaccinated ($50,000) and the rabies program ($331), and to reduce appropriations of the rabies program salary ($12,215.65).
The board also approved several policy updates including a food resolution with new terms and new code sections, an embargo resolution and an internal nuisance policy. A resolution to approve modernization to the policy manual updates was tabled until new board member Linda Garwood, who was selected by the Columbiana County Health District Advisory Council to fill the seat left empty July 29 by the death of longtime board member Tom Haugh in September, is given ample time to review it. October’s monthly expenses of $56,644.43 were presented and approved and quotes for employee medical insurance and estimates to renovate the front entry door to comply with ADA regulations were reported as received.