The Interim Finance Committee approved Carson City’s takeover of environmental health inspections for Douglas County, a move lobbyist Mary Walker described as a first step toward consolidating certain county services.
Officials in both counties worked out the plan. They needed the state to agree to surrender control over inspections in Douglas.
“It’s part of the regional consolidation of services,” Walker said after the Thursday vote.
Romaine Gilliland, who helped develop the program, said the consolidation will happen in January.
“We’ve evaluated their plan, and we feel confident in their ability to take over these services,” Mary Wherry, of the Nevada State Health Division, told IFC members.
The services being combined under Carson City Health’s control include inspections of restaurants and businesses where there is a potential health risk, such as tattoo parlors and swimming pools.
Wherry said the transfer is money-neutral, meaning Douglas County will pay Carson City for the inspection services instead of the state.
“This really is just taking fee revenue from the permitees and the county revenue out of their budget,” Wherry said.
She said the state has assigned two employees to handle Douglas County inspections, but that Carson City will put 2.5 employees on the job.
Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, questioned the change. She pointed out that Carson will inspect tattoo parlors and asked whether it has the statutory authority to do that.
Wherry and others said counties have the power to enact tougher health rules in specific areas. They noted that Carson has been inspecting tattoo parlors for years, as have officials in Washoe, Clark and White Pine counties.
The costs of inspections of all businesses are paid by fees charged to those businesses.