Mpls. Businesses Fight Mayor's Proposed 'Health Impact' Fee
Mayor R.T. Rybak wants more health inspectors and he's asking businesses to pay for them.
The Mayor is proposing a so-called "Health Impact" fee in his budget. He hopes to raise about $900,000 to hire six more health inspectors.
His office says Minneapolis has about one inspector for every 377 businesses while a city like St. Paul has one inspector for every 294 businesses. The proposal would affect restaurants, pizzerias, coffee shops and tattoo parlors to name a few. Any business that has a health inspection license would feel the pinch.
The Warehouse District Business Association does not want to see the "Health Impact" fee to be imposed. Its executive director tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that association members cannot afford any new fees or taxes. Joanne Kaufman also says her members are often frustrated by the City of Minneapolis and says the city often makes it difficult for businesses to survive in the city.
City Council member, Elizabeth Glidden, chairs the Council's Regulatory Services Committee. She says the idea is still being refined and she is hoping there is a compromise that makes it a level playing field for all the businesses that would have to pay the fee. Right now, for example, full-service restaurants would pay about $400 to $500 a year for the fee while smaller businesses like coffee shops would pay about $100 to $150 a year.