RACINE — Businesses that fail to promptly fix health code violations after their annual inspection could face higher reinspection fees in 2015.
When organizations or individuals open certain businesses in the city to the public — namely places where proper sanitation is paramount to preventing the spread of disease — they must pay for a permit or license from the Racine Health Department. With those permits and licenses, which must be renewed each year, comes the promise of annual inspection from a Health Department inspector.
If violations are found during an annual inspection, an inspector could close the establishment until the problems are fixed or give the owner/operator a certain number of days to address the issues before coming back to reinspect the business.
If the issues have been fixed by the time that reinspection occurs, the business won’t receive any fees. Establishments that fail to fix the problems, however, will be charged for the reinspection.
Those fees are slated to increase this year for four types of businesses.
Grocers that fail to fix problems before being reinspected the first time will see the fee they are charged go from $100 to $200. Should another inspection come and go without the problems being fixed, the business will be required to pay $300 — $150 more than in 2014.
The increase would only affect grocery stores that sell more than just prepackaged food, such as stores that have delis or sell raw meat.
Bed-and-breakfast owners who fail to fix problems before being reinspected a first or second time also will see the fees they pay increase, as will tattoo and body piercing businesses, and places with swimming pools or whirlpools.
The Health Department is increasing the fees in an effort to encourage wayward businesses to address violations, Public Heath Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox said.
“There are some places that we have to go back to a multitude of times just to get the initial problems corrected,” Bowersox said. “They just don’t do it.”
Reinspection fees for restaurants are not slated to increase. In fact, the fees charged to restaurants with simple or moderately complex food processing and handling will see their reinspection fees go down.
A restaurant with simple food preparation will see its first reinspection fee drop to from $200 to $100, and the fee for a second reinspection will dip from $300 to $150.
Initial reinspection fees for restaurants with moderate food preparation will drop from $225 to $200. The fees they pay for a second inspection will drop from $400 to $300.
To address the problem of all businesses, especially restaurants, failing to renew their annual permits and licenses, the department also is adding late fees this year. Businesses that fail to renew their permit or license by June 30 will pay $100; businesses that fail to renew it by July 15 will pay $200; and those that fail to renew by July 31 will be charged $500.
“We have numerous restaurants that simply are not prompt with renewing their restaurant license, and we send letters. The timeline is just too long before they actually renew,” Bowersox said.