Carson City took a step closer to changing its restaurant inspection process.
The Board of Health, comprised of the Board of Supervisors, Dr. Susan Pintar and Sheriff Kenny Furlong, recommended code amendments be referred to the supervisors on Thursday.
Carson City Health and Human Services (CCHHS) has been working on the proposed code overhaul for months, holding public meetings with local restaurants and getting the businesses input.
As a result, no restaurant representatives spoke during public comment, implying most were on board with the proposed changes.
“We must be close because the room isn’t filled,” said Supervisor Lori Bagwell.
The changes would include a new card rating system with placards posted at each restaurant, a requirement for a certified food protection manager on site while the restaurant is operating, and new code to oversee outdoor food carts and eateries.
The board directed staff to make a few more changes, including guaranteeing restaurants will be re-inspected within five business days of a request, the grade placards be visible on the exterior of the business, and the cards have a line to indicate the inspection is being appealed if the restaurant owner is in the process of disputing it.
The placards on display will be based on a grading system: an A for restaurants scoring 100 to 90 in the current inspection scoring system, a B for eateries scoring 89 to 80, and a C for scores of 79 to 60.
A restaurant scored below that would be closed until it rectifies problems and can reopen. A closed sign would be placed where the grading card is usually displayed.
Only 4 percent of inspections last year fell below 89 points, or a B, according to Dustin Boothe, division manager, CCHHS.
Restaurants also will only be docked for high-risk factors described as the most prevalent contributing factors to food-borne illnesses. Lapses in low-risk factors, or restaurant best practices, will be noted by inspectors but restaurants won’t lose points.
The ordinance incorporating all those changes will go to the Board of Supervisors for a first reading at the board’s meeting on Feb. 15.
The supervisors also heard a presentation on planning for the upcoming Epic Rides Carson City Off-Road mountain bike race on June 15-17.
The event, which launched in 2016, attracted 600 riders in its first year, 900 riders last year and is on track for 1,200 participants in 2018.
The course this year will revert to the higher elevation course used in the first year, assuming no snow or flooding affect the course, which is why it wasn’t used last year.
Also, the city is working to find a way to protect bikes after some were stolen last year by a group of thieves traveling bike racing events. A likely solution will be to store bikes in the parking garage under City Hall.
Event organizers also are looking into spinning off related events during the race, including a ride on the V&T Railway to Virginia City for bikers, who would return to Carson City on their bikes.
The board also approved separating the titles of assistant sheriff and undersheriff and raising the undersheriff’s salary to a top range of $159,349.15, requiring a $13,000 budget supplement in the current fiscal year to be paid for by the Sheriff’s Office budget.
The change passed on a vote of 4-1 with Supervisor John Barrette voting no.
The board and the Carson City School District Board of Trustees held a joint meeting Thursday evening, more information about that meeting will appear in Saturday’s Nevada Appeal.