Colorado To Hike Restaurant Inspection Fees In Exchange For Higher Grades, Uniform Checks

Mar 30, 2016 04:18 AM EDT | By Chandan Das

A Manhattan restaurant rated with a Health Department 'A' grade is seen March 7, 2011 in New York City. Preliminary results from the initial six months of the city's new restaurant health grading system indicate that restaurants are taking steps to improv
A Manhattan restaurant rated with a Health Department 'A' grade is seen March 7, 2011 in New York City. Preliminary results from the initial six months of the city's new restaurant health grading system indicate that restaurants are taking steps to improve their food safety practices.
(Photo : Mario Tama/Getty Images)

In the absence of inspection fee hikes on a regular basis to catch up with escalating costs, most restaurants usually don't get inspected frequently or properly. However, this is soon going to change for restaurants in Colorado, when inspections will henceforth be frequent and uniform.

The Colorado Restaurant Association has in principle agreed to accept a 50 percent increase to state licensing fees for more uniform inspections, abolition of letter grade results as well as other requests. In fact, a 14-page bill sent to the House of Business as well as Labor Committee on March 24 will enhance the fees with a view to appoint more restaurant inspectors, Food Safety News reported.

The groups working on the bill includes legislators, state officials and industry groups. Incidentally, restaurant inspection fees in Colorado have not been increased since 2009.

The increased restaurant inspection fees will also help the authorities to pay for more inspectors. In fact, the shortage of inspectors has been a major issue in Larimer County and the state in recent times because the fees were to less to maintain the demand. In addition to checking for potentially hazardous food preparation conditions, additional inspectors will also be helpful for the restaurants to open in a timelier manner, the Coloradoan reported.

Over 50 percent of the restaurant inspection program in Colorado is subsidized by taxpayers and the current fees are unable to sustain, the publication quoted Steve Johnson, Larimer County Commissioner. "So we can't provide the prompt service our community expects," Johnson added

Currently, the inspection fees for grocers range from $115 for small shops to $690 for the largest provided they have delis inside. On the other hand, the restaurants in Colorado pay about 70 percent of the entire food license fees that currently range from $255 to $310. The new bill proposes that the average restaurant inspection fees would witness a $142 annual hike.

The bill includes several different fee schedules. For instance, a restaurant having a seating capacity of 101 to 200 would see its annual fees increase to $430 a year, from the existing $285. On the other hand, a food outlet selling pre-packaged foods and beverages would be required to pay $195 annually provided it has less than 15,001 sq ft, and $353 if it has 15,001 sq ft or more. 

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