Worried that increasing fees would cause more dairies to close down, Fresno County leaders have agreed to help cover the rising cost of local milk inspections.
Higher inspection costs, driven in part by a new state surcharge for dairy oversight, are causing some counties to raise inspection fees for milk producers. Fresno County health officials had requested the Board of Supervisors boost inspection fees by nearly 50 percent.
According to the Fresno Bee, Fresno County supervisors instead settled on an 18 percent fee hike at a recent board meeting.
Fresno County's Department of Public Health is facing higher inspection costs because of growing labor and supply expenses, as well as a new 15 percent surcharge the state has added to county inspection fees. Some counties have already implemented the new surcharge and passed the cost along to dairy farmers.
The county will cover the added inspection costs with Department of Public Health funds, which presently pay nearly half the cost of dairy inspections.
According the Fresno Bee article:
The California Department of Food and Agriculture performs inspections in some counties. But in a handful of large dairy counties, mostly in the Valley, local inspection programs do the work.
The state raised its inspection fees and introduced the surcharge on local programs as part of a budget trailer bill last year. The new revenue is meant to help cover the state's cost of managing dairy inspections, which includes record-keeping, auditing of county programs and inspector training, a state spokesman said.
The fee increase has to be confirmed by a second vote before it takes effect. If approved, the new rate would start May 24. PD
çŞśčŞrom an article by Kurtis Alexander in the Fresno Bee ( Click here to read the full article.)