Salem Health Board hikes food license fees

SALEM – The Salem City Health Board adopted slightly higher food service license fees for 2014 after holding the third and final reading for the new fee schedule Wednesday afternoon.

Health Commissioner Richard Setty reported that two representatives of the Smith Center on Fourth Street attended a public hearing on the fee increase Wednesday morning, but offered no questions or comments to pass on to the board.

The apartment building manager just wanted to educate herself on the process after receiving a letter as a licensed food operator. Letters were sent to all licensees about the hearing, but very few, if any, ever attend.

The fees take effect Feb. 1. License renewal invoices will be sent out at that time. The increases were based on a cost methodology prepared by Setty based on the amount of time sanitarian William Hayward devotes to the food service program, including inspecting restaurants and food service facilities. The methodology also accounts for any time Setty may work on the program.

According to calculations, Hayward spent 74.9 percent of his time working in food service, with the remainder of his time spent in other areas, such as nuisance complaints and dog bites.

The increases ranged from 22 cents to $22, with the fee for temporary facilities per event actually decreasing from $52 to $45.10. The price for the category known as mini markets will remain $100. A portion of each fee for all food service categories goes to the state.

The fees (with current fees in parentheses) for risk classifications of a size less than 25,000 square feet include: level 1, $110.68 ($106.20); level 2, $121.14 ($116.19); level 3 $206.03 ($197.26); and level 4, $253.70 ($242.79).

The fees for risk classifications for facilities over 25,000 square feet include: level 1, $147.48 ($141.35); level 2, $153.75 ($147.34); level 3, $473.68 ($452.88); level 4, $500.44 ($478.44).

The fees for a vending operation will increase from $18.75 to $18.97. The cost for a mobile facility will increase from $117.73 to $118.19.

A plan review fee for a new establishment will remain 100 percent of the license fee, with the fee 50 percent of the license fee for a remodeling.

In a related matter, Setty said the state survey of the food service program was completed and he was provided a draft copy of the Ohio Department of Health surveyor’s report.

“We are pretty much 100 percent in compliance with all the requirements,” he said.

Setty told the board the department is still struggling to get rid of flu vaccine, noting that none of the clinics they set up garnered many numbers.

He noted that it’s not to late in the season to get a flu shot. Board member Newt McKnight pointed out that there hasn’t been any big outbreak of flu yet. If there was, more people would be getting flu shots.

Anyone who needs a flu shot can call the Salem City Health Department at 330-332-1618 to make an appointment. The cost is $30, either through self-pay or through Medicare or health insurance coverage billed by VaxCare. Health department offices are located on the first floor of the KSU City Center.

In a matter regarding a possible rabies exposure, Setty told board members about a recent incident involving a bat and a 12-month-old boy. He received a call on Nov. 27 from the Columbiana County Health Department about the incident which occurred in a rental unit in the city. The county was first notified Nov. 26 by poison control from Cincinnati and determined it occurred in the city limits.

Setty learned the incident occurred Nov. 12. Apparently two cats inside the home caught a bat and tore it apart, leaving pieces on the kitchen floor. The pieces were found and the 12-month-old had been taken to the living room and put on the floor to play. The mother noticed he had something in his mouth that he then spit out. It was described as “a small hairy ball with little tiny teeth in it.”

The mother apparently called poison control and was then instructed to take the child to the emergency room due to the possible rabies exposure. According to Setty, a physician there did not feel an exposure had occurred. The bat head was thrown out.

Setty said he told the mother that there was a potential rabies exposure and the post-exposure medication should be administered. She was also told the cats both needed to be vaccinated and to contact her landlord about bat-proofing the home. She was directed to go to her family physician, who was on board with administering the medication but was concerned about the cost.

Setty said he’s been told it could cost up to $1,000 but he didn’t have the exact price. The health department learned there’s an assistance program through the manufacturer.

“We’ll try to get the family the help we can,” he said. “We don’t want to leave them hanging.”

Without the bat head for testing, they can’t determine whether the bat was rabid or not. When asked about the incubation period for rabies, he said he wasn’t sure considering it’s a small child.

“We feel this certainly was an exposure,” he said, adding he’ll be contacting the hospital about rabies exposure protocols.

The next health board meeting will be 10 a.m. Jan. 22.