OC Could Slash  Million in Small Business Fees Under Supervisor’s Proposal
Business proposal

OC Could Slash $25 Million in Small Business Fees Under Supervisor’s Proposal



Many small business owners have been financially hammered during the coronavirus pandemic, as customers stay home for health concerns and the state’s past restrictions for much of the public health crisis.

Now, they could be getting a break on millions in fees they pay for health inspections.

County Supervisor Katrina Foley is proposing waiving all county health permit fees owed by small businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.

The plan, if approved by a majority of supervisors, would wipe out as much as $25 million total in fees.

“When I’ve been talking to local businesses – whether it’s a tattoo parlor, or a nail salon, or a restaurant, dry cleaners, any number of local businesses that require environmental health permits from the county – they’re willing to take any help that they can get,”  Foley said in response to questions from Voice of OC at a news conference Monday.

At today’s supervisors’ meeting, Foley is asking her colleagues to study how to make the fee waiver happen and to bring back recommendations for final approval.

The other four supervisors didn’t return messages for comment.

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“Many, many small businesses that are essentially mom and pop businesses, family owned, right here in Orange County are still struggling. And they have to pay the rent,” Foley said, adding that the waiver would come in the form of a credit or discount on permit fees.

“If we can [waive] their environmental health permit fees for 2021, 2022, up to $25 million, that should be sufficient to cover anybody who has either already received an environmental health permit or who is pursuing one, then that would be a very large benefit to the small business,” she added.

The waived fees probably will be funded by federal bailout money, Foley said.

“And it won’t be very detrimental to the county’s $7.7 billion budget. And certainly the American Rescue Plan funds that came in, that went into the revenue loss bucket, really were intended to help with small business and economic recovery. So that’s why I brought it forward,” she said.

Messages for comment were not returned by leaders at the Orange County Restaurant Association and the Southern California chapter of the California Restaurant Association.