- Greg CoxDistrict 1 SD County Supervisor
- Kristin GasparDistrict 3 SD County Supervisor
- Ron RobertsDistrict 4 SD County Supervisor
- Bill HornDistrict 5 SD County Supervisor
- Helen RobbinsSD County Chief Admin Officer
- Dianne JacobDistrict 2 SD County Supervisor
Stop huge fee increases for San Diego Cottage Food Operators
The CA Cottage Food Law (AB1616) was specifically established to promote the creation of small businesses and the growth of home-based businesses that contribute to the health, prosperity, and well being of Californians. Since then, San Diego has seen a steady increase, year over year, in the number of Cottage Food Operations (CFOs) created.
The San Diego Dept. of Environmental Health Food and Housing Division (DEH-FHD) is proposing to increase CFO fees by more than 50% for new permits. Fees would increase from $142 to $210 for A permits and from $284 to $449 for B permits, a 51% and 58% increase respectively.
This will have a strong negative effect on the continued growth of the industry in San Diego. Cottage food owners must also pay for standard business licenses, home occupancy permits, fictitious names, insurance, and food safety training. Farmer’s Market fees and Temporary Food Facility permit fees also are being increased by DEH-FHD resulting in additional costs which threaten the health of this emerging industry.
We feel the proposed increases are unjustified because:
1. The large increase in fees could be avoided by improving efficiency, reducing confusion, and streamlining the process. DEH-FHD has not adequately explored nor implemented options to save time and money to keep the fees low.
2. Taking steps to streamline the process should be implemented before prices are substantially increased. Increasing fees by 50%+ dis-incentivizes DEH-FHD from making substantial changes to the process.
3. The new fees would be the highest of all the counties in Southern California, and among the highest in the state (again pointing to a confusing process and/or inefficiency in the application process).
4. Among the justifications offered by DEH-FHD is the fact that they’ve not raised fees since 2010. The Cottage Food Law AB1616 was not even implemented until Jan 1, 2013, so rationalizing increased fees for CFO permits since 2010 is unjust. Furthermore, the proposed fee increases for all other DEH-FHD programs averages only 7% (excluding the Fisherman’s Market permit which is a new permit).
5. While reducing the fees for renewals and adding separate billing for additional label reviews makes sense and is a welcome response to CFO suggestions, it does not make sense for DEH-FHD to increase the permit fees and double the number of labels that can be submitted when it is the review of labels that the department claims is the most time consuming issue. Better to keep the number of labels lower, improve the process, and keep the fee lower.
Rather than a 50%+ increase in fees for new Cottage Food Operations, we believe a more modest increase in fees (in line with other proposed DEH-FHD fees) AND implementation of new procedures, forms, in-house training, etc. recommended by Cottage Food Operators would benefit the DEH-FHD processes, Cottage Food business owners, and the emerging industry.
Suggestions and recommendations were submitted to DEH-FHD but have not had time to be implemented. Copies will be provided to County Supervisors, too.
We therefore request the Board of Supervisors NOT approve the currently proposed fee increases for Cottage Food Operations at this time.
Cottage Food Operators in San Diego County--and those who aspire to be.
- District 1 SD County Supervisor
- District 3 SD County Supervisor
- District 4 SD County Supervisor
- District 5 SD County Supervisor
- SD County Chief Admin Officer
- District 2 SD County Supervisor
Please stop the huge fee increases for new San Diego Cottage Food Operators. More can be done to keep fees lower. DEH-FHD has not fully explored or implemented cost and time saving measures. A 50%+ fee increase for new Cottage Food applications will have a negative impact on the growth of this home-based small business industry.
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