Ridgefield Health Department planned to charge salons an annual inspection fee, but select men said to wait

RIDGEFIELD – Plans to institute an annual inspection fee for hair and nail salons from July are on hold for now, thanks to the Board of Selectmen.

Health Director Ed Briggs appeared on the board last meeting seek approval of a new annual inspection fee totaling approximately $ 100 for local salons.

The idea of ​​the department was born from a Connecticut Status request local health districts to conduct inspections annually and authorize fees not to exceed $ 250. Briggs said the inspection fee would help cover the associated costs of the department and align with similar fees charged to restaurants.

“The Department of Health has costs to do this stuff. There were costs to get that stuff into the computer, ”he said.

“We have good cooperation,” he said, adding that this would maintain the “standard of the profession”.

Ridgefield has about 53 lounges, which means the fee could generate $ 5,300.

Briggs hoped to institute the fee on July 1, as it wouldn’t conflict with the restaurant licensing fee collection that begins in January. For those who would not have the loan payment by then, the ministry would grant a grace period of one month.

Selectmen questioned the timing of invoking such a rule. Maureen Kozlark said it was “not a good time” to demand fees. Barbara Manners and Bob Hebert agreed.

“With COVID, they have been mandated to be shut down for a long time. Even those that are open they don’t get the kind of business they had before but they have to pay their sewer charges, sewer charges go up [and] taxes, ”said Hébert.

“I think it’s punitive at the moment. I support something like this if we push it back to July of next year, but I think right now it sends the wrong message, and our businesses, we need to give them a chance to get back into business before we start. to impose additional fees, “he added.

The board decided to revisit the discussion in January for potential implementation next July.

Although Briggs expressed a different sentiment. Knowing that his wife had just spent around $ 220 at a salon, he argued the money was there and noted that he had received no “resistance” from salons he had previously mentioned.

Several local salon owners said the fees were “reasonable”.

Edgardo Escribano, owner of Pelo by Edgardo, said he would support the inspection fees. Escribano said the inspections “will keep (us) on our toes and keep the sanitation aspect of the business in focus,” he said.

Adam Broderick, another Ridgefield salon owner, said it was “unusual” given that some surrounding towns charge inspection fees.

Bethel Health Department charges $ 75 for annual salon inspections, plus an upfront fee of $ 100 for opening or requesting salon renovations.

Brookfield also charges fees for assessments, but on a phased basis. The base rate starting at $ 70 covers living rooms with three tables, rooms or chairs. Larger living rooms are charged an additional $ 20 for each additional chair, table, or room, but cap the total at $ 250.

Whip Salon owner Amy Pal thinks it “makes sense” to standardize fees. She owns three salons in Fairfield County and has seen the different approaches to each town.

“We are following all state guidelines to the letter, so I don’t see this as a problem at all,” she said. “I think it’s good for the consumer to know that salons are doing the right thing the way we are.”

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