CHAMBERSBURG (Aug. 29, 2019) — Restaurant owners and managers will see changes in the way their restaurants are inspected next year.
Chambersburg intends to bring restaurant inspections, food service licensing and health code enforcement in-house in January.
The move should make local restaurateurs happy, if the number of complaints the borough receives about customer service with the current system is an indication.
A third-party private code enforcement agency currently runs Chambersburg’s system.
Both restaurant owners and local citizens crowded Town Council chambers Monday to take part in discussions about the issue.
Just a month earlier, Council, in response to objections about the customer service experience at the third-party private code enforcement agency, decided to issue a Request for Proposals, to determine whether any other private company would like to provide these services on the Borough’s behalf.
Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill and Land Use and Community Development Director Phil Wolgemuth laid out options, after telling Council it had only one proposal, from the current contractor.
“The status quo is not an option going forward,” Stonehill said.
One option is turning the system over to the state’s Department of Agriculture. Wolgemuth said 90% of all municipalities in the state use this system. Stonehill said he thought borough citizens and visitors would be disappointed with the level of enforcement provided by the state.
Both citizens and restaurant owners weighed in Monday, in give-and-take discussions that drew out over an hour.
Some worried about the cost to taxpayers of borough management of the system — an estimated $161,580 annually.
Stonehill talked about “synergy’ as personnel hired to run the program would also help with other programs.
In the end, Council decided on the do-it-yourself approach, favoring local control over turning it over to any third party, including the state.
“I vote in favor of doing it ourselves,” said Sharon Bigler, who represents the borough’s Fourth Ward. “We manage many complex systems here in Chambersburg. We can run a system that is fair an equitable for businesses and safe for consumers.”
Michael Herbert, who represents the Second Ward, agreed.
“Chambersburg is the only town that’s runs a natural gas and electric utility,’ he said. “Certainly we can manage this system as well.”