The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department is considering a plan that would allow it to begin inspecting area restaurants for cleanliness and health-related issues.
Dan Partridge, health department director, told Douglas County commissioners this morning that he is considering an idea of creating a new food service inspection program. It would replace the system of state inspectors who regularly check Lawrence and Douglas County restaurants.
Partridge said several Kansas counties have signed contracts with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to have local inspectors do the restaurant checks. He said he thought it could provide an improvement in service.
"I don't want it to sound like the state isn't doing a good job, but I think we can do it even better because we would have inspectors who are more tied into the local community," Partridge said. "They are here on a daily basis and live in the community."
Partridge said he thought the program could be self-supporting from a financial standpoint. He said inspection fees would continue to be set by the state. But the health department would receive 80 percent of the fee. The state would keep the remaining 20 percent to take care of the actual issuing of a license and to cover any enforcement expenses, such as taking an establishment to court.
Partridge said the idea still needs some further study before he's committed to moving ahead. He said local inspections likely wouldn't begin before 2008.
For more details on the story, and additional coverage of the County Commission, see tomorrow's Journal-World.