County inking crackdown on unlawful tattoo shops

2013-06-04T15:30:00Z 2013-06-04T20:06:18Z County inking crackdown on unlawful tattoo shopsBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | The Porter County Health Department is in the process of inking a crackdown on tattoo shops failing to comply with state regulations.

Porter County Health Department Administrator Keith Letta said the effort will work much like the food service program, with inspections once or twice a year of business providing tattoo services.

The inspections will focus on areas of health concerns and age requirements, said Nathan Vis, attorney representing the health department during Tuesday's meeting of the Porter County Board of Commissioners.

The state has regulations in place, but no agency to visit tattoo sites to enforce the rules, he said. The county will pick up that job, but does not have the power to license.

Letta said the inspectors will look at cleanliness, equipment, procedures, blood issues and infectious waste disposal.

Vis said representatives from the health department will meet with tattoo artists as part of the effort to create an ordinance. The goal is to have a proposal ready for the commissioners to consider by late summer or early fall, he said.

In other business Tuesday, the Board of Commissioners modified a feasibility study at the Expo Center to include plans to go after the amateur sports market.

"It would be the roadmap for us doing sports in Porter County in the future," Indiana Dunes Tourism Executive Director Lorelei Weimer said.

The addition boosted the cost of the contract from $91,000 to $134,000, she said.

The commissioners also approved a $15,000 contract to hire someone for six months to aid with the development of a school safety plan.

The goal is to find an alternative long-range funding source for the position.

In a final bit of business, Commissioner John Evans, R-North, challenged the perception put forth by some County Council members that the county is facing financial problems.

Repeatedly calling the County Council members names linked to the Chicken Little story, Evans said the amount of revenue the county is expected to lose each year as a result of Lake County adopting an income tax is an estimated $250,000, not $1.6 million.

He also accused the council members of under funding county employee health insurance.

In response to the call for the commissioners to initiate a comprehensive operations plan to guide building spending, Evans said a strategic financial plan has already been done.

"So, Porter County residents, the sky is not falling," Evans said.

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