ALBION — The Noble County Commissioners Monday approved advertising an ordinance which would increase permit fees set by the Noble County Health Department.

County Health Nurse Cheryl Munson said the proposed increases came after her department had surveyed area counties and found that Noble County’s fees were lower than what is charged by neighboring counties.

The commissioners will still have to vote on the measure before it is enacted.

Those increases, all of which would take place Oct. 1, would be:

• food service establishments and food markets licenses, moving from $50 currently to $100;

• temporary food service establishments license, moving from $10 for the first day ($35 for longer than three days), to $25 for the first day and $10 for each additional day);

• residential septic tank permits moving from $50 to $100; and

• commercial septic tank permits moving from $50 to $150.

The commissioners also gave approval to publish their intent to increase the cost of citizens receiving a tuberculosis skin test from $8 to $15.

Munson said at $8, the health department was losing money with each test it did. The increase to $15 will keep that program in the black for some time, she said.

The health department may need additional revenue thanks to a change in grant funding, also discussed at Monday’s meeting.

Munson told the commissioners she would be applying for the state’s Bioterrorism Grant again.

Last year, the state paid Noble County $16,000.

From that pool of money, last year Munson was able to fund an upgrade to the NIXLE warning system, pay for department cell phones, obtain special emergency kits and to purchase an AED.

The state has upped the grant to $25,000, but mandated all the funds be used to hire a contractor to make sure the county is in compliance with terms of the grant.

That person’s duties will also include updating the health department’s emergency plans.

Doing the paperwork to make sure the county is meeting all grant requirements is difficult, Munson said.

“It’s a lot of work,” she told the commissioners.

The commissioners voted to allow Munson to use the grant funds to pay for the contractor.

She said she had already been in contact with a contractor would be also be working with one additional county.

By receiving the grant, the health department becomes eligible to apply for other grants from the state.

Munson said she would likely have to apply for those grants to help pay for some of the expenses which normally had been paid by the Bioterrorism Grant funds.

She said the amount of available funds won’t be known until the state determines how many counties have opted into the program.

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