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Quinn Unveils Legislation Aimed At Reforming Fines Levied Against City Restaurant Owners

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TWC News: Quinn Unveils Legislation Aimed At Reforming Fines Levied Against City Restaurant Owners
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Reduced fines could be on the menu for city restaurant owners under Christine Quinn's new proposal.

The City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate unveiled legislation Sunday set to be introduced Thursday that is aimed at reforming the fines levied by health inspectors as well as improving the letter grade system.

An agreement between lawmakers and the Department of Health will cap fines for specific violations.

Minor violations will carry a $200 fine, while more severe ones will be between $300 to $350.

Working without a permit or failing to display a letter grade would result in a $1,000 fine.

Quinn said the measures would reduce fines by $10 million per year.

"Letter grading was always designed to help the public know what restaurants were health and safety," she said. "It was never designed to nickel and dime restaurants out of business."

"They can keep money in their pocket," said Andrew Rigie of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. "They don't have to be as concerned every single time an inspector walks in the door. It's just going to benefit both the consumer as well as the small business owners."

"If we work together, on our side and on the Department of Health, and spend the money instead on fines on education, we all win," said Kurt Gutenbrunner, owner of Blaue Gans.

The measure also includes a health inspectors code of conduct and the right of the owner to ask for a consultative inspection.

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