SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – As approved by the Snohomish County Board of Health in the 2016 budget, all environmental health related fees will see a 4.6 percent increase effective April 1, 2016. This includes a 1.6 percent increase based upon consumer price index (CPI), plus a new 3 percent technology fee to offset the investment in technology upgrades in progress. The services provided by the Environmental Health Division strive to be full cost recovery.
“We elected to wait until April 1 to roll out the new fee schedule because all food establishments are required to renew their permits by the first of the year,” said Jeff Ketchel, Environmental Health Director for the Snohomish Health District. “Permit renewals were already mailed out in December with estimated fees, and we didn’t want to surprise our customers.”
The Snohomish Health District is responsible for plan review, permitting and inspections of all retail food establishments in the County, as well as septic systems, solid waste facilities, schools, and public pools and spas. In order to enhance customer service and improve efficiency for operations, the Environmental Health Division went through an extensive process and technology improvement effort. As a result, a new online portal will soon be available for customers to apply for permits, pay fees, schedule inspections and submit complaints.
“Our new software is currently in beta testing, and we expect to launch it this year,” said Ketchel. “When customers were polled last year on how we could improve service, they also said they would be willing to help pay for the convenience.”
The Board of Health has authority under RCW 70.05.060 to establish fee schedules for licenses, permits or related services, which are adopted in the annual budget. The fee schedules can be found at http://www.snohd.org/About-Us/Environmental-Health/Permits-Fees.