Ten businesses refuse to pay inspection fee; accounts sent to collections

Ten businesses that have refused to pay fire inspection fees – saying they shouldn’t have to pay for inspections by the county fire marshal or that the fee is burdensome – have been sent to collections.

The San Juan Island Fire Department Board of Commissioners voted May 12 to send the delinquent accounts to AllianceOne, a collection agency. Any money collected by AllianceOne would be posted to the fire department’s budget.

Owing $35 each from January 2007: Islandscape Nursery, Lopez Fitness, Poppies Fine Yarns, and Smith and Speed Mercantile.

Owing $35 each from April 2007: Cabo San Juan, Law Office of Mann & Blaine, and Lopez Kayaks.

Owing $35 from May 2007: Orcas Jeans.

Owing $35 each from February 2008: Poppies Fine Yarns, and Smith and Speed Mercantile.

Owing $35 each from October 2008: Doug James Flooring, and Vita’s.

Fire commissioners say regular building inspections helps ensure commercial buildings are safe and helps keep insurance rates lower. The county formerly paid the salary of the fire marshal, but in 2005 turned the responsibility over to the county’s fire districts. San Juan Island Fire Department, aka Fire District 3, is the lead agency and the fire marshal has an office in the headquarters station on Mullis Street.

Fees from fire inspections and burn permits were expected to pay for much of the cost of the fire marshal, with the fire districts and the county making up the shortfall.

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