Routine checkups of local tattoo and body piercing business are to fall
under the auspices of the Porter County Health Department according to a new
ordinance approved by the County Board of Commissioners Tuesday on first
Attorney for the Board of Health David Hollenbeck said the board supports
safety standards as they are reflected in the Indiana Department of Health
standards. The state does not have an agency that actively inspects these
facilities to make sure the regulations are being followed, he said.
The Board of Health has also noticed a rise in the number of tattoo/piercing
parlors, about 10 in the county currently, and Hollenbeck said the goal is
to “get ahead of the curve” as only a handful of counties in Indiana have
adopted ordinances giving them regulating authority.
“We believe it’s a growing phenomenon in our county,” Hollenbeck said.
In drafting the ordinance, the health department had collaborated with
several owners of such establishments who Hollenbeck said enthusiastically
support having a set of safety regulations implemented. One such owner was
Drew Thomas, owner of Bluebird Tattoo in Portage, who attended the meeting
and advocates the ordinance.
Under the ordinance, health department personnel will check to ensure that
tattoo artists have certifications from the American Red Cross proving
they’ve been trained to use the equipment. Inspections will also see that
sanitation procedures are being followed, such as using fresh needles or
razors, paper towels, single use markers and stencils, and general
cleanliness, said Kelly Cadwell, environmental health specialist for the
The ordinance also calls for the department to charge an annual permit fee
of $100, Hollenbeck said, and it sets up procedures should a shop be found
in violation. In those cases, the department would alert the owner that
their license could be revoked if the matter isn’t resolved and they may
undergo a show-cause hearing, which is similar to how the County regulates
restaurants, but often the violations are resolved, Hollenbeck said.
Hollenbeck commented he is “very impressed” with the professionalism shown
by the shop owners of the tattoo parlors he’s talked to and is “optimistic”
the ordinance will work well.
“We will have high quality, clean tattooing going on in Porter County,” he
Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, told Thomas that he commends the
shop owners for their willingness to work with the County.
The Commissioners approved the measure 3-0.
They also unanimously approved a second reading of the proposed amendments
to the county ordinance establishing a fee structure for food service
establishment permits, with a few changes.
Whereas on first reading the proposed fees were $200 for any facility less
than 3,000 sq. ft., $350 for those between 3,000 and 10,000 sq. ft., and
$500 for facilities more than 10,000 sq. ft., now a fourth category has been
added. Businesses between 10,000 and 15,000 sq. ft. will be charged $500 and
those more than 15,000 will be charged $600.
Hollenbeck said the modifications were suggested once it was apparent that
there were more restaurants with more than 10,000 sq. ft. than was first
thought. Those over 15,000 sq. ft. are primarily grocery stores.
If complaints are lodged over fairness of the new fee structure when it
takes effect, Hollenbeck said he would talk to the Commissioners about
possible changes next year.
911’s last big deal
In other business, the Commissioners voted 3-0 to approve what 911
Communications Director John Jokantas said is the final big purchase in
providing his department with up-to-date dispatching equipment.
The board signed off on a $236,820 with Tiburon Public Safety Software for a
countywide mobile data computer system for all police and fire vehicles.
Jokantas proposed to take the money out of his rainy day fund, which he
hopes he can later replenish by transferring money from other funds within
Previous upgrades to radio equipment have been paid out of the County’s
hospital interest fund, which Jokantas said he hopes to avoid asking
officials to draw further from.
Before the vote,