People who use the services provided by the Daviess County Health Department are looking at some changes in fees. While many fees will remain the same, some are going up and a handful are going down. “We review the fees for immunizations every year and adjust them,” said Daviess County Environmental Health Specialist Jeff Stoner. “Some of the other fees for environmental services we review every few years and change them.”
Of the 50 vaccines administered by the health department, four dropped in price, one increased and one new product was added to help people keep from getting shingles. “The vaccine costs reflect the cost of the product,” explained Stoner. “Those amounts will reflect what private pay individuals and insurance companies wind up being charged.”
The environmental fees are going through some much larger adjustments. “We are not allowed to make money on these fees,” said Stoner. “For years we have operated under cost and this reflects what it takes to actually provide the service.”
Well water samples will increase from $15 to $35. Septic system inspections will rise from $35 to $50. Septic system permits will remain at $75, but a new $25 application fee is being added. “We get about 10 applications each year where we do the work and then the people decide to not put in a system,” said Stoner. “In those cases we are just out the money on that work. The application fee will allow us to recover that cost up front. Other counties call it something different but it is a pretty common charge.”
The health department is also raising some of the fees regarding food permits. “A lot of counties use complicated formulas based on the square footage and number of employees,” said Stoner. “We like to stay with flat fees.”
A retail food permit will increase from $75 to $100. A temporary food permit is going from $35 to $50. A retail food permit after July 1 is increasing from $40 to $50. The late fee on a retail food permit will go from $75 to $100, and the late fee on a temporary food permit that was $35 will now cost $50. “Every time we have a festival with food vendors we have to inspect them,” explained Stoner. “During the week of the Antique Show we checked 18 vendors at Elnora and that same week at the Turkey Trot there were seven more. A minimum inspection takes an hour, but the average one can last three hours.”
The fee for establishing a plan review is going up the most, from $35 to $75.
That is the charge for new food service providers in the county.
“That fee covers the cost of reviewing the plan in the office that can take five hours,” said Stoner. “After that we do an inspection during construction, another inspection upon completion, then we go back and inspect prior to opening and do a follow up inspection three months later.”
Officials insist the fee increases are only about covering the cost to get the work completed and make certain the public’s health and safety is protected.
“When we don’t cover those costs we wind up in the taxpayers’ pocket,” said Stoner. “These fees will put the cost on the people who are getting the benefit of the services.”
While the vaccine fees have already been put in place, the environmental fees will go into effect on March 1, 2014. A complete schedule of those fees will be published in the Washington Times Herald on Feb. 19.