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Environmental health fees on track to rise
Hall County Government Center

Hall County permitting fees are likely increasing for everything from septic system installations to hotel room inspections.

At the end of August, the Hall County Board of Health voted to bump up the cost of permits for septic tanks, food service businesses, swimming pools, hotels and accommodations, body art businesses and other activities (well permits and rabies tests). The Hall County Board of Commissioners is expected to sign off on the increases Thursday.

Hall County Board of Commissioners

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road

More info: 770-531-3973

Hall County Environmental Health handles all of the permitting and is a function of the state, but its fees are approved by local commissioners.

Many of the one-time permit fees collected by Hall County Environmental Health are increasing by $50, but the average fee increases range from $25 to $50.

There are a few outliers, including the annual inspection of food trucks, which is increasing to $300 from $200 — the largest increase of all restaurant inspection costs. Environmental Health is scrapping its flat, $250 fee for hotel inspections and instead using a tiered system. Hotels with 50 or fewer rooms would pay $300 each year, hotels with 51-100 rooms would pay $375 and hotels with more than 100 rooms would pay $450 — an increase of $200 over the current rate.

“The existing fees were evaluated based on the services we provide and the time it takes to provide each service,” wrote Kelly Hairston, manager of Hall County Environmental Health, in an email to The Times on Wednesday. “Tourist accommodations that have more rooms and larger facilities require more time to inspect. This proposal is similar to what is already in place for food service establishments and swimming pool/spa facilities.”

Some permits and related fees in the department’s septic tank, food service, swimming pool, hotel and tourist accommodations and body art permitting are new, and Hairston said these new fees are being added “where we are providing a service for which we have no fee associated.”

The costs of permits and services support the operations of the department, but Hairston didn’t say how much additional revenue the larger costs would bring into the department.

“There are a lot of factors involved in revenue and operating costs; for instance, the number of permits issued and the number of applications submitted for other services,” she wrote. “These requests vary from year to year, which impact revenue.”

Permit costs were last changed in 2008, according to Hairston, and the last major increase in fees was in 2004.

If commissioners approve the new fees at their Thursday voting meeting, they would take effect Nov. 1.

Full list of fee changes proposed by Hall County Environmental Health
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