Monday, April 05, 2010

Revised Health Fees Coming Up for Vote

Proposed Health Division fee increases that shocked merchants and others in January have been revised and will be up for a city Council vote on April 12.

The new schedule phases in many increases over three years and a couple have been dropped altogether. In seeking increases, Health Officer Mark Colicchio said fees had not changed in 16 years. But after the outcry over the original schedule, city officials met with business groups to hear their concerns.

In contrast to earlier proposed increases as much as 300 percent, the new schedule has many fees phased in at 30, 20 and 10 percent hikes over three years.

One section of the new schedule will retain increases proposed earlier, hiking $5 fees for certificates of birth, marriage or death to $25. Additional copies of such documents will be $5. Burial permits will go from $10 to $15 and a certificate of burial fee will change from $5 to $15 upon adoption of ordinance amendments. Marriage licenses will stay at the state-mandated fee, $28, and the city will add the same fee for Domestic Partner certifications.

Gone from the new schedule are fees for self-service laundries, including extra fees for each machine. But pharmacies and newsstands that sell snacks will be in for a new, phased fee starting at $50 in 2011 and rising to $78 by 2013.

Mobile food trucks were facing a new $250 fee under the old schedule, but will now start with $150 in 2011 and increase to $234 in 2013. New fees will be imposed on body art establishments, tanning salons, barbershops and massage parlors, but they are much lower than the original proposed fees. For example, the proposed fee for an establishment offering tattoos or piercings was reduced from $500 to $150 and will not take effect until January 2011.

Church and school kitchens will face a new fee of $75 in 2011, rising to $117 in 2013.

The proposed fees for food establishments without seating were compressed, so that places ranging from zero to 299 square feet, which now have three separate fees, will all be assessed at the top fee of $125. Similarly, those ranging from 300 to 599 square feet will face the highest of three former fees. But changes will not begin until 2011.

Dog and cat licenses will be increased, from $11.20 to $15.20 in 2011 for non-neutered animals and from $8.20 to $10.20 for neutered or spayed animals.

The full schedule may be obtained at the City Clerk’s office.

To see Plaintalker’s previous reports on the proposed fees, click here.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh great... Once again they come back to tax city properties to death. What it isn't bad enough that the taxes are the highest in Union County or that we are subject to the PMUA? Get real!

7:36 AM  

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