Letter: Expensive inspection system flawed
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Clark County Fire Marshal Jon Dunaway and Community Development Director Marty Snell have the persistent goal to inspect "all" businesses annually with their "Fire and Life Safety" inspection program. Currently this inspection program, including travel time, is funded by your business at the rate of $130 per hour.
Upon introduction, the inspector said his inspection is "mandated" by the Washington state Fire Marshal's Office but the state requires counties only to inspect schools, day cares, convalescent homes, hospitals, boarding homes and nursing homes. Beyond these six vulnerable populations, the fire marshal is required to inspect no one -- or he can design his own program.
This ambitious program is currently before the commissioners to select a method of increasing revenue. Other counties' fire marshals live within their budgets and inspect in alternate years or as their budget allows.
Economically, this is the worst time to implement a program that further taxes small business. There's no statistical evidence that you are any safer with this expensive inspection charade. Inspecting businesses by class and risk assessment would be a reasonable way to monitor businesses that create combustible dust, noxious fumes, etc.
Apparently the fire marshal's budget is inadequate, so he should spend it wisely where it will do the most good.