Fee increases proposed for Environmental Health inspections

CONYERS — The Rockdale Board of Health plans to increase its Environmental Health fee schedule in response to increases in its costs and decreases in funding.

Dr. Lloyd Hofer, representing the Board of Health, told commissioners Tuesday that the board had adopted the new fee schedule at its June meeting. The fees must be accepted by the county before they can be enacted.

“We have not had any adjustment to our fees for about seven years,” he said.

According to information provided to commissioners, the Board of Health’s philosophy is that the cost of services should be borne by the individual user.

The board’s operations are funded primarily through fees and a grant-in-aid from the county and state.

“Since 2007, funding from fees and county grant-in-aid has trended downward,” according to the board’s report. “At the same time, funding from the state has been inconsistent.”

Based on a chart from the board, total funding for the board dropped from $868,165 in 2007 to $758,846 in 2013. Revenue from fees totaled $303,057 in 2007 when more construction was taking place. In 2013, fees had dwindled to just over $142,000.

In the same time period, funding from the state fluctuated from $331,491 in 2007 to $426,626 in 2013. Funding from the county decreased over the years, from $233,617 in 2013 to $190,000 in 2013.

Hofer said there are six changes in the fee schedule — three increases, two new fees and one fee decrease, as well as an overall 3 percent increase in all other fees, other than land use fees, greater than $50.

Fees that will increase include:

• Food service change of ownership plan review, an increase of $75;

• Plan review for hotel (new or major remodel), an increase of $40;

• Owner-requested restaurant re-inspection, an increase of $150.

New fees added to the schedule include a four- to 14-day temporary food permit at $325 and a documentation fee of $5.

The $275 fee to inspect a septic tank repair will decrease to $250.

Environmental Health is responsible for inspection and enforcement of regulations related to hotels and motels, food service establishments, body art and tattoo studios, public swimming pools, and septic systems, among others.

Rockdale commissioners are expected to vote on the new fee schedule at their regular meeting set for 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 24, at the Assembly Hall on Main Street.