Mayor Rybak nixes proposed health fee on restaurants

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October 29, 2012 by Sarah M

By Nick Halter

The city of Minneapolis won’t be creating a new “health risk impact fee” on restaurants as Mayor R.T. Rybak had proposed in August, according to an e-mail his staff sent to City Council members today.

Rybak had proposed the fee as a way to raise between $728,000 and $907,000 annually in order to hire six more health inspectors. Rybak argued to the Star Tribune that health inspectors were overburdened as the city’s restaurant base has grown, citing data showing a one to 377 ratio of inspectors to facilities.

Rybak’s policy director, Peter Wagenius, wrote to Council members that key city staff members received new revenue projections for the city’s Regulatory Services Department.

“Based on those revised – and positive – projections, the Finance Department believes the needed additional inspectors can be hired with projected revenues and without the Food & Health Safety Fee,” Wagenius wrote in the e-mail.

According to the Star Tribune, the fee would have ranged from $350 to $450 a year for high-risk restaurants. It would have been less for smaller establishments, like coffee shops and food trucks.

In September, the city’s Regulatory, Energy and Environment Committee voted down Rybak’s proposal for a 3 percent increase in business licensing fees.

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