Environmental Public Health programs move toward full cost recovery through increased fees
Vancouver, Wash. – Environmental Public Health fees will increase in the new year as the department shifts toward fully recovering all program costs.
On Nov. 28, the Clark County Board of Health unanimously approved the 2019 Environmental Public Health fee schedule ordinance. The new fee schedule goes into effect Jan. 1.
The ordinance implements new policy direction from the Board of Health to increase cost recovery on fees and reduce support from the county’s general fund. Currently, the county general fund supports Environmental Public Health work that is considered for the “greater good,” such as foodborne illness outbreak investigations, complaint investigations and swim beach monitoring.
The new policy direction, however, moves Environmental Public Health toward full cost recovery for programs through fees.
Only two Environmental Public Health programs – drinking water safety and onsite septic permitting – will not be at full cost recovery in 2019. The increases to those fees will be implemented incrementally until they also reach full cost recovery.
Environmental Public Health programs at full cost recovery in 2019 include recreational water safety, solid and hazardous waste, onsite septic operations and maintenance, food safety, and school health and safety.
Fee increases have been minimal during the last seven years. The county general fund began supplementing program costs for “greater good” services in 2011. Since then, fees were only adjusted in the 2017-18 biennium, when an overall fee increase of 1.35 percent was implemented.
The increases in the 2019 fee schedule vary, with a collective increase in fee revenue of 29 percent. See the fee schedule ordinance for more information.
The Environmental Public Health fee schedule will be reviewed annually to align with the county’s new annual budgeting process.