BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
MONTROSE – With state health officials pulling inspections for tanning salons in Iowa, Lee County is looking at an ordinance to police operations themselves.
Lee County Health Department Administrator Michele Ross told Lee County Supervisors following Tuesday’s regular meeting that she would like them to consider an ordinance that would allow the county to continue to inspect tanning operations in the county, despite the state pulling that requirement.
Lee County Supervisors agreed to put a proposed ordinance on the agenda in January to give operators time to respond to the changes. The ordinance would be similar in wording to the Appanoose County ordinance and has been reviewed by Lee County Attorney Ross Braden, according to Ross.
If the county decides not to pursue an ordinance, Ross said businesses offering tanning wouldn’t have that portion of their business inspected.
She said the business are currently paying a $33 inspection fee and she’s asking the county to set the inspection fee at $35.
Michael Shelangoski, the LCHD Environmental Services program director, who handles the inspections, said there are currently 12 businesses offering tanning services with close to 26 beds or booths in the county.
He said inspections range from examination of tanning beds and equipment to logs and timing mechanisms.
“In the past the health department has always done annual inspections through state requirements from the Iowa Department of Public Health,” Ross said.
“This past year, they’ve decided to drop the tanning facilities as part of local health department inspections. Different counties were recommended by the state to pass local ordinances and have the environmental health departments continue to offer the inspections on a local level.”
She said an ordinance would keep the tanning facilities in check with following standards for infection control and would also help prevent over tanning, which she said is unhealthy according to Centers for Disease Control.
“We’ve been doing the service for the state. We’re just requesting to continue to do the inspections locally because we feel strongly that they need to be done,” Ross said.
Supervisor Ron Fedler said it would be appropriate to send the proposed ordinance or a letter to the area businesses so they have some notification of the upcoming changes.
“If this goes on the agenda, which it sounds like it will, they have the opportunity to come forward and can’t say they didn’t know about it,” Fedler said.