Many restaurateurs are complaining about the new Dept. of Health letter grade system not just because of the public nature of the grades, but because the new system gives the city more frequent opportunities to impose fines. Now, any restaurant that gets less than an A grade can expect an average of three inspections a year as opposed to one. With each inspection comes the realities of increased fines and violations.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article on the topic, the city expects to collect $36.4 million in fines from restaurants—not street carts—by the end of the fiscal year in June. Last year they collected $32.9 million, the year before it was $27.8 million. In 2006 they collected just $17.3 million.
Health department officials swear the goal of the new program "is the health and safety of the public, not revenue collection," but note that they added 25 inspectors this year and plan to add 25 more. With more inspectors come more inspections and more violations.
· Restaurant Owners Feeling Taxed by Grading [WSJ]
· Pata Negra Owner's Tale of Woe, Fines, DOH Witch Hunts [~ENY~]