Starke County Health Officer Asks Commissioners for Fee Changes; Reports on Food Inspections

Dr. Theresa Alexander

New Starke County Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Alexander, came before the County Commissioners at their most recent meeting to ask for two changes. She asked for a change in fee structure and a change in implementing a fine.

On the fee structure, she asked for a reduction in the septic permit fee from $200 to $60 because the future Sanitarian will not be able to conduct a soil sample. That will need to be done by a Soil Specialist, arranged for by the contractor or applicant.

Alexander also announced that the Health Board is nearing a decision on a new Sanitarian. She said there have been several applicants for the position. When that person is hired, Alexander said he or she will be moved back to the Courthouse from the Annex to be closer to the Health Department Office.

“We just think with somebody new coming into that position, it would be good to have them working where we can keep an eye on them, build some camaraderie and work together to provide the best services for the constituents of the community, ” said Dr. Alexander.

Alexander reported that the food inspections are being conducted by David Kesvormas and are going very well.

“We have been taking our time with them and not going in like a bull in a china shop,” explained Dr. Alexander. “We just wanted to make sure that all the State codes were being followed. The idea behind the food inspections is so that things are better for everyone. It’s not to come in and beat somebody up. It’s to come in and force all to learn the best way to handle food so that no one in our county gets sick.”

When last reported by WKVI, 30% of all establishments needing food inspections were delinquent. Alexander talked about bringing them into compliance, and fining the establishments if they don’t come into compliance.

“Hopefully we don’t have to do that at all. I would like to think that our various businesses here are very interested in being compliant and doing what’s right for the community. Of course, we have to wait until the final approval comes through from today’s Commissioner’s meeting, and their minutes, that they agree with what we’re proposing. Personally, I think that if people don’t have their permits by the end of March, they need to start looking at the possibility of a fine.”