The Fort Wayne Allen County Department of Health Department could be charging $50 for genealogy-related death certificates in the near future.
Monday night during the first Fort Wayne-Allen County Board of Health meeting of the year, board members voted to amend an update in an ordinance changing vital records fees. In a written statement to the Board Mindy Waldron, Administrator for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health, said recent review of the fees charged in the Vital Record Division has shown some changes need to be made by increasing some fees and decreasing others. A portion of the charge for death certificates goes to a statewide fund for the coroner education fund, something every county contributes to, and that amount is going up. That increase is why the Department of Health has decided to revamp the fee system. Currently certified copies of death certificates cost $12; that will be raised to $13.
However if the new ordinance passes non-certified death certificate requests would be charged $50. The reason for the increase is the amount of time if takes staff members to conduct the search along with the fact the Allen County Library has extensive records where the person making the request could do their own research to obtain the information. In the past year when the fee had been dropped for non-certified copies of death certificates the number of requests had jumped from 189 in 2011 to 409 in 2012.
Waldron said that 67 percent of the funding for Department of Health staff comes from taxes, the rest through grants or fees. The extra money from the increase will go right back into staffing. The Allen County Commissioners will need to approve the amendments to the ordinance in order for the change to occur.
There was also discussion of purposed amendments to the Food and Beverage Ordinance that would change the current system to a rating system of A, B, C or D. The idea comes from the city of Los Angeles, which has that rating system. Board members also discussed the purposed public nuisance ordinance. These will be voted on in later meetings this year.
In other business, Dr. Deborah McMahan reported tuberculosis cases at 16, an increase of 12 in 2012, with only four cases reported in 2011. McMahan said she does not expect this number to drop in the future. Most of the cases were in the non-immigrant population, with 44 percent of the cases in people age 25-44 years old. Chlamydia cases dropped from 2129 in 2011 to 1975 in 2012. However, gonorrhea cases were up by 1.6 percent, as was early syphilis, which had a 33 percent increase in 2012. Cases of HIV dropped by 13 percent. Cases of Hepatitis C climbed from 275 in 2011 to 303 in 2012.
The next Fort Wayne-Allen County Board of Health meeting will be April 15.