Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fire inspection, one more fee for small business

Image result for Fire inspection for small business picture
Updated fire extinguishers, signed-off.
Pacifica Tribune/Letters to the Editor, 7/14/15. "Fire inspection issues by Jim Wagner

"Editor:  I would like to reach out to Pacifica business owners to evaluate their experience with the city's fire inspection program and fee. Last week's Tribune featured a letter from a local business pointing out the fire inspection fee is really pretty high considering most inspections take just a couple of minutes in a small straight-forward office setting.  Perhaps a better, more efficient inspection system can be fashioned that is not so costly to our business community.

Image result for Fire inspection for small business picture
Smoke detectors works, signed off.
.... Almost out of here.
As chair of the Pacifica Business and Community PAC, we strive to make Pacifica a better community by fine-tuning community programs, be they involve traffic, schools, taxes, etc. I would urge any business with a suggestion on an improved inspection system and fee structure to drop me an email so we might compare experiences and possible improvements. My email address is:  I look forward to hearing from you."

Submitted by Jim Wagner, Chairman, Pacifica Business and Community PAC.

Related article, Pacifica Tribune, Letters to the Editor, 7/7/15, "Struggles of local small business" by Ron Wilson, Omni Insurance Agency.  "Editor: What exactly is wrong with Pacifica? As a small business in Eureka Square for the last 40 plus years, it has come to my attention that Pacifica city management has sought out and found an easy target for another excessive revenue pursuit. In addition to the myriad of business fees, license fees, various taxes and an attitude of "we need more money," another fee has been added. For the last four years or so there has been an annual fire inspection fee, which this year is $90. My office space is approximately 180-square feet and has three wall plugs for electricity. The inspection requires one or more firemen to enter the office, make a visual look at the plugs and depart, a two minute visit to one of dozens of offices in this building alone. Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't that work out to $2,700 an hour for their labor? Multiply this times all the business entities in town and the figure must be astronomical. Where exactly is the money being spent? How? Why? The last time I brought such a protest to the City Manager, no response and no change has come to light. I understand the City must have operating revenue but I find this outrageously irresponsible taxation without or with little representation. I challenge the City Manager to explain to me how this can be justified. If she is too busy, the Mayor or a city councilmember will do. Apparently my request has fallen on uncaring or perhaps unhearing ears. Anticipating your response in person but will settle for a phone call from someone with the power to actually address this issue."

ReferenceNorth County Fire Authority, Fire Inspection Checklist, pdf pages 1. Business and Multi-family Dwelling Program:  Fire extinguishers; sprinklers; exiting doors, signs, aisles; electrical safety power taps, extension cords, 30-inch clearance in front of covered electrical panels (no exposed wiring); storage is orderly, combustible wastes removed daily.  North County Fire Authority link.

Note photographs.  Fire extinguisher images  from  Schmidt security Pro. Smoke alarm image from Brantford Fire Department.

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

I challenge the City Manager to explain to me how this can be justified. If she is too busy, the Mayor or a city councilmember will do.

Good luck trying to get a return phone call or email from City Council.

Mary Ann, will give her standard dog and pony show, about how much staff time goes into researching this problem. Blah blah blah

Karen, won't respond until Mary Ann, lets her.

Mike, is Mike, in la la land.

Sue, will respond try to help but forget what she was asked to do, in a Gary Busey, kind of way,

Keener, "the greener" will appeal, everything and anything the gang of no tells him to appeal.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if someone does a survey of other cities:

Daly City
South San Francisco
San Bruno
San Mateo
etc etc etc

And bring the data to city council maybe change will take place.

The two blogs are barely glanced at by city council and city staff and as long as staff's paychecks are clearing they are not going to rock the boat.

The blogs are just a place to spew hot air, all the issues are out there, no one bothers to take on city hall to fix them.

Kathy Meeh said...

Annual fire codes inspection in a commercial structure seems like a reasonable City Agency requirement. And the businesses operated in this building are all independent from the landlord/owner.

Is $90 per year an unreasonable fee? 927 has suggested a SM County cities cost survey, which this City may already have. Otherwise, the survey seems like a positive follow-up activity from Ron Wilson, the business proprietor.

Here's another idea, Plan B: City fire authority (or the City) could bill the landlord/owner. Then, the landlord/owner could raise the rent/lease to cover the additional expense. Result: the net tax write-off to the business would be similar, I think. Either way, in the course of doing business, fire inspection fees would be considered an ordinary overhead expense. And without the annual fire codes inspection, all businesses in the building are potentially put at greater risk for fire hazard.

Anonymous said...

The two problems I have with this is:

The money doesn't go to the fire department it drops into the general fund. The year before it was $150.00 then they dropped it to $90.

The other problem and biggest problem is the Sanchez Art Center brought in all the goons to scream and cry and tap dance in front of city council to only have one inspection fee for all the units. Flammable Paint and solvents, what can possibly go wrong? In all that fair, why doesn't a commercial building have 1 fee?

This is all up to the city council. They can get a wild long hair up their butts and make it $200.00 or even higher if they feel they need more money.

The city council hearings on this topic were comical. Even when the fire department told the city, well each unit should be a separate fee city council squaked about pissing off their friends and base.

Anonymous said...


Even if you rent under plan B it's a cost of doing business to the tenant.

The tenant gets to write this off taxes being it's a business related expense. Just like business license. The landlord doesn't pay for that, the tenant business does.

Chris Porter said...

Hi Kathy..I believe the problem is that there previously was one blanket charge for a building and now every individual small business is being charged what they feel is a large amount for a small space.

Larry said...

3:01 I would like to refer back to a great Seinfield episode where Kramer tells Jerry "it's a write off, Jerry" and Jerry responds "Kramer, you don't even know what a write off is!". I think that's what we have going on here. You have to earn it first!! it's a bill. I much rather keep it than "write it off".

Anonymous said...

LMAO. How many can fit in that clown car? IMHO the $90 is reasonable but unfairly administered. Why is this council continuing the subsidy to individual artists at the Sanchez? When will we ever get a council that doesn't play favorites or court votes in these decisions? Each tenant s/b charged. That place needs fire inspections because of the materials and equipment used and stored. How thorough an inspection are we getting at the Sanchez for one fee? And the fee has already been cut from $150 to $90. Good to know. Cities charge fees for services. Get over it.

Anonymous said...


Did you know David Lee Roth deducted condoms?

Anonymous said...

6:56-- How many of those deductions were you responsible for?