Health Inspection Costs Will Rise
Madison's Cafe in Jefferson City normally pays $325 each for its two annual health inspections. But the city said the price doesn't cover the cost of the inspections.
"I think they run, average, a little over a thousand dollars per facility, per establishment," said Jane Smith, a Jefferson City council member.
The council has added an increase in fees to its budget for next year. An inspection would cost a quarter of a percent of a restaurant's annual total receipts, but no more than $1,000. Madison's owner Rob Agee said he feels Jefferson City restaurants are already paying enough.
"I don't think there should be an additional burden on the restaurants or restaurateur, which bring in a large portion of the city's revenue through their sales tax," said Agee.
This probable increase means Jefferson City restaurants would pay the most in Missouri for health inspections.
"All the research I've done shows that probably the highest rates that I've seen out there are in St. Louis county and are around $451," Agee said.
One other way to cover the cost of inspections is to charge everyone, including schools and hospitals that currently get free inspections.
"The hospitals have to pay for electricity. They have to pay for heat, they have to pay for telephone services," Smith said. "And I think they should be paying for inspection services, as I also believe schools should."
Around 40 restaurants will pay the maximum $1,000 for the inspections. Even though the council approved this fee raise, it won't finalize the entire $60 million city budget until October 15, 2007.