An increasing number of Hanover businesses are being listed as out-of-compliance in restaurant inspections as state inspectors conduct routine checkups previously managed by the borough.
Hanover asked the state Department of Agriculture in December to take over the inspections, said borough Manager Barb Krebs.
"We were the only municipality in York County doing our own," she said.
Officials also saw an opportunity to reduce costs, Krebs said.
When an employee retired, he wasn't replaced. His duties were assigned to the one worker who previously conducted inspections of all 145 restaurants in the borough, and inspections were passed to the state, she said.
The state department received a letter dated Dec. 4, saying the borough was handing over jurisdiction due to budget constraints, said state spokeswoman Samantha Krepps.
In January inspectors began working in Hanover.
Of the 10 establishments in York County listed as out-of-compliance last week, eight of them were in Hanover.
This week, eight businesses in York County are out of compliance, and five of them are in Hanover.
Restaurant owners are blaming a change in the guard, saying they were unaware certain procedures weren't safe practices at food-serving businesses.
"The state looks at things the Hanover guy never mentioned to us before," said Wesley Smith, co-owner of Bay City Seafood at 110 Eisenhower Drive.
Last week a state inspector determined Smith's restaurant was out of compliance for "minor violations" that were corrected the day of the inspection or shortly after, he said.
This week a state inspector said Robin Baummer's business was one of five Hanover restaurants out of compliance.
She owns Pretzel Plus at 1155 Carlisle St.
"I've been here for 15 years and never heard these things," Baummer said.
All violations have been corrected, and one caused her to buy a new hot-water heater, she said.
"None of our violations were a detriment to customers. Nothing here was really that bad," Baummer said.
But the pretzel shop owner said she's happy the inspector is catching all things, whether they're minor or major.
"I was upset at first, but the more I thought about it, I realized he's educating me. I feel a lot safer eating in this town," Baummer said.
State inspectors "follow the food code very seriously," Krepps said.
They make unannounced visits to look for violations, which include how food is being stored, heated and prepared; the cleanliness of the restaurant; employee hygiene and more.
"We work under the same set of guidelines at every restaurant and do our best to protect the safety of people eating in Pennsylvania," Krepps said.
The state has 70 inspectors and seven supervisors to handle annual inspections for more than 40,000 restaurants throughout the state, except for Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Erie, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, which conduct their own reviews, she said.
That averages to about two inspections per weekday for each inspector.
In the last five years, 20 municipalities, including Hanover, have turned over jurisdiction of inspections to the state, Krepps said.
Most of them have cited budget constraints, she said.
Including 145 establishments in Hanover, it's added about 1,000 businesses the state has to inspect.
With some grant money, the state department was able to add three inspectors who will be employed for two years.
When asked if the extra jurisdictions are additional work the state can take on, Krepps was quick to respond.
"We have to," she said.
—Candy Woodall at firstname.lastname@example.org.