WSR 03-07-081

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


[ Filed March 18, 2003, 2:42 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 03-03-131.

Title of Rule: Chapter 16-400 WAC, Fruit and vegetable inspection fees. (1) Change the hourly regular and overtime inspection rates and (2) establish a fee structure for good agricultural practices (GAP) and good handling practices (GHP) audits.

Purpose: Raise fees within fiscal growth factor, current fees are below actual costs of providing services. Alignment of inspection charges with inspection practices and procedures. Adopt the federal market inspection charges for good agricultural practices and good handling practices audit inspections.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: Chapter 15.17 RCW.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 15.17.030.

Summary: The purpose of this rule is to: (1) Increase the regular and overtime hourly inspection rate within the fiscal growth factors allowed under Initiative 601. The current hourly rate of $24.30 per hour is not sufficient to recover the actual per hour expenses; and (2) adopt the federal market inspection charges to establish a fee structure for good agricultural practices and good handling practices audits performed under the USDA federal/state audit program.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: See Summary above and Explanation of Rule below.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Jim Quigley, Olympia, Washington, (360) 902-1833.

Name of Proponent: Department of Agriculture, governmental.

Agency Comments or Recommendations, if any, as to Statutory Language, Implementation, Enforcement, and Fiscal Matters: Current hourly fees are $24.30 per hour, which is not sufficient to recover actual per hour expenses.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: The purpose of this rule is to: (1) Increase the regular and overtime hourly inspection rate within the fiscal growth factors allowed under Initiative 601. The current hourly rate of $24.30 per hour is not sufficient to recover the actual per hour expenses. The increased inspection rate will reduce the proportionate disparity of inspection costs between the high volume warehouses and the lower volume warehouses. High volume warehouses are generally assessed fees on a per unit bases, which usually meets or exceeds the hourly rate for the total inspection time. The lower volume warehouses are assessed fees on a per unit basis in addition to the hourly rate to compensate for the total inspection time; and (2) adopt the federal market inspection charges to establish a fee structure for audits performed for the good agricultural practices (GAP) and good handling practices (GHP) under the USDA federal/state audit program. The fee structure will allow for the audit time, compensation for travel time when applicable, and mileage at the state rate when applicable, which is the same fee structure implemented by USDA.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: Increase the hourly inspection rates from $24.30 to $25.09 per hour on June 30, 2003, and to $25.89 per hour on July 1, 2003. Increase the overtime inspection rates from $33.02 to $34.10 per hour on June 30, 2003, and to $35.19 per hour on July 1, 2003. Establish a hourly fee for good agricultural practices and good handling practices audits at the rate of the federal market inspection charge of $43.00 per hour plus travel time and mileage where applicable.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The financial impact, if any, will be minimal and does not represent a disproportionate cost to small businesses.

Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, does not apply to this rule adoption.

Hearing Location: Washington Apple Commission, 2900 Euclid Avenue, Wenatchee, WA, on April 23, 2003, at 1:00 p.m.; and at the Yakima Agriculture Center, 21 North 1st Avenue, Yakima, WA, on April 24, 2003, at 10:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Laurie Crose by April 22, 2003, TDD (360) 902-1976.

Submit Written Comments to: Jim Quigley, Program Manager, WSDA Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Program, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, fax (360) 902-1833, by April 25, 2003.

Date of Intended Adoption: May 5, 2003.

March 3, 2003

Robert W. Gore

Assistant Director

OTS-6207.1


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 01-11-086, filed 5/16/01, effective 6/16/01)

WAC 16-400-040   Grade and condition certificates -- Vegetables.   Charges for grade and condition certificates for all vegetables shall be:

(1) The minimum charge for all vegetables shall be nine dollars.

(2) Charges for grade and condition certificates for fresh market vegetables in containers - wrapped, place pack, face and fill, in bags, master containers, consumer packages, or loose in bulk cartons, boxes, crates, bins or in bags per cwt. or fraction thereof:

(a) For federal-state certification:

Asparagus . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Cantaloupes, and corn . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.5
Onions . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Potatoes, and seed potatoes . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Processing potatoes . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Complete inspection (rate shall be reduced for level of service required)
Tomatoes . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
(b) For state certification:
Asparagus . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

(3) Inspection fees for cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, rhubarb, rutabagas, squash, watermelons, etc., shall be at the hourly rate of ((twenty-three)) twenty-five dollars and ((sixty-six)) nine cents beginning June 30, ((2001)) 2003, and ((twenty-four)) twenty-five dollars and ((thirty)) eighty-nine cents beginning July 1, ((2001)) 2003.

(4) Inspection for quality, condition, and/or size determination, whether in bulk or in containers, for all vegetables for processing, except potatoes, charges shall be two dollars fifty cents per ton net weight or fraction thereof. When inspection is requested only for the purpose of verifying the product, conveyance, markings, or other factors not related to quality, the charges shall be at the hourly rate, but not less than the minimum certificate charge of nine dollars.

[Statutory Authority: Chapter 15.17 RCW. 01-11-086, 16-400-040, filed 5/16/01, effective 6/16/01; 98-10-083, 16-400-040, filed 5/5/98, effective 6/5/98; 96-10-060 (Order 5095), 16-400-040, filed 4/30/96, effective 5/31/96; 89-08-040 (Order 2001), 16-400-040, filed 3/31/89; 86-08-081 (Order 1884), 16-400-040, filed 4/2/86; 85-02-033 (Order 1845), 16-400-040, filed 12/31/84, effective 2/1/85; 79-01-035 (Order 1589), 16-400-040, filed 12/20/78. Statutory Authority: RCW 15.17.150. 78-06-025 (Order 1578), 16-400-040, filed 5/17/78; Order 1402, 16-400-040, filed 6/16/75; Order 1377, 16-400-040, filed 9/12/74; Order 1355, 16-400-040, filed 5/14/74, effective 7/1/74; Order 1317, 16-400-040, filed 5/30/73; Order 1121, 16-400-040, filed 12/29/69; Order 1121, 16-400-040, filed 6/30/69, effective 8/1/69; Emergency Order 1120, 16-400-040, filed 6/30/69; Emergency Order 1065 and Order 1066, Regulation 1, 4, filed 9/15/67; Order 1066, effective 10/16/67; Order 1052, Regulation 1, 4, filed 5/12/67; Order 989, Regulation 1, 4, filed 8/3/65; Emergency Order 988, effective 8/3/65; Order 928, filed 7/8/63; Order 783, effective 3/1/59.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 01-11-086, filed 5/16/01, effective 6/16/01)

WAC 16-400-100   Certificates.   Certificate charges shall be in accordance with the following provisions:

(1) Consolidation certificates shall be charged as specified in WAC 16-400-010 and 16-400-040 and shall have an additional charge of three dollars for each additional local lot.

(2) Condition certificate charges shall be two-thirds of the grade and condition certificates with the following exceptions:

(a) Previously inspected lots shall have a minimum charge of nine dollars.

(b) When the lot has had no prior inspection for quality or grade and it is requested that the certificate carry out-bound car, truck, or state lot number, the grade and condition certificate schedule shall apply.

(c) Out-of-state products reported on state certificates shall be charged on the applicable grade and condition certificate schedule, except there shall be an hourly charge of ((twenty three)) twenty-five dollars and ((sixty-six)) nine cents beginning June 30, ((2001)) 2003, and ((twenty-four)) twenty-five dollars and ((thirty)) eighty-nine cents beginning July 1, ((2001)) 2003.

(d) For lots of controlled atmosphere storage apples which were previously certified, a state condition certificate or quality control inspection may be issued without additional charge.

(3) Car hook-up, loading or unloading certificate shall be charged at the rates specified in subsection (2)(a) of this section.

(4) Sanitary and quarantine certificate charges for fruits and vegetables shall be:

(a) Six dollars for the issuance of a certificate, plus the hourly rates specified in WAC 16-400-210 (1)(a) when the shipment is not covered by federal-state or state certificates.

(b) Six dollars per set when the shipment is covered by federal-state or state certificates.

(5) Container weight, or checkloading certificates shall be charged at the rates specified in WAC 16-400-210 (1)(a).

(6) Federal-state certification shall meet the criteria for sampling as established by United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service. When the federal-state inspector or inspector's aide must physically obtain samples from lots blocked out for loading or from lots in storage, charges of seven and one-half cents per cwt. shall be made in addition to inspection fees. When assistance is provided by the applicant's personnel, charges for sampling shall be reduced accordingly.

[Statutory Authority: Chapter 15.17 RCW. 01-11-086, 16-400-100, filed 5/16/01, effective 6/16/01; 98-10-083, 16-400-100, filed 5/5/98, effective 6/5/98; 96-10-060 (Order 5095), 16-400-100, filed 4/30/96, effective 5/31/96; 90-09-031 (Order 2031), 16-400-100, filed 4/11/90, effective 5/12/90; 89-08-040 (Order 2001), 16-400-100, filed 3/31/89; 86-08-081 (Order 1884), 16-400-100, filed 4/2/86; 85-02-033 (Order 1845), 16-400-100, filed 12/31/84, effective 2/1/85; Order 1377, 16-400-100, filed 9/12/74; Order 1355, 16-400-100, filed 5/14/74, effective 7/1/74; Order 1317, 16-400-100, filed 5/30/73; Order 1121, 16-400-100, filed 6/30/69, effective 8/1/69; Emergency Order 1120, 16-400-100, filed 6/30/69; Emergency Order 1065 and Order 1066, Regulation 3, filed 9/15/67; Order 1066, effective 10/16/67; Order 1052, Regulation 3, filed 5/12/67; Order 989, Regulation 3, filed 8/3/65; Emergency Order 988, effective 8/3/65; Order 928, filed 7/8/63; Order 783, effective 3/1/59.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 01-11-086, filed 5/16/01, effective 6/16/01)

WAC 16-400-210   Other charges.   Other miscellaneous charges are listed below:

(1) Charges for platform inspection shall be:

(a) Platform inspections, time taking samples, extra time, phytosanitary and/or quarantine inspection, and all other services, shall be charged at the hourly rate of ((twenty-three)) twenty-five dollars and ((sixty-six)) nine cents beginning June 30, ((2001)) 2003, and ((twenty-four)) twenty-five dollars and ((thirty)) eighty-nine cents beginning July 1, ((2001)) 2003.

(b) Time allowance -- Where a platform inspector is working full time at one house and also doing certification inspection, the inspector shall allow credit for the time according to limits outlined in the schedule for such certification at the hourly rate of ((twenty-three)) twenty-five dollars and ((sixty-six)) nine cents beginning June 30, ((2001)) 2003, and ((twenty-four)) twenty-five dollars and ((thirty)) eighty-nine cents beginning July 1, ((2001)) 2003.

Should the certificate charges divided by the respective hourly rates equal or exceed the number of hours worked, no platform charge shall be assessed. Should the certificate charges divided by the respective hourly rates be less than the number of hours worked, the platform charge shall be made to bring the total to the appropriate charge.

(2) Fumigation charges -- The minimum charge for supervision of fumigation shall be eighteen dollars. Additional or unnecessary stand-by time shall be charged as specified in subsection (1)(a) of this section. In temporary, nonpermanent facilities or those lacking adequate devices for maintenance of acceptable treatment temperatures, no fumigations shall be started after 3:00 p.m. from October 1 to May 31, nor after 10:00 p.m. from June 1 to September 30.

(3) Field or orchard inspections made at the applicant's request for determination of presence or absence of disease or insect infestation, or for other reason, shall be at the rate of two dollars fifty cents per acre or fraction thereof or at the rate specified in subsection (1)(a) of this section except as otherwise provided in subsection (13) of this section.

(4) Seed sampling fees shall be arranged with the plant services division for services performed.

(5) Extra charges on services provided shall be assessed according to provisions listed below.

(a) The minimum inspection charge for each commodity and requested form shall be at the rate specified in subsection (1)(a) of this section.

(b) If, through no fault of the inspection service, time over the maximum allowance as supported by unit rates for each commodity and requested form is required, such excess time shall be at the rate as specified in subsection (1)(a) of this section.

(c) For all inspection services performed beyond a regularly scheduled eight-hour week day shift or on Saturdays, or Sundays, or state legal holidays, an hourly charge shall be made equivalent to ((thirty-two)) thirty-four dollars and ((fourteen)) ten cents beginning June 30, ((2001)) 2003, and ((thirty-three)) thirty-five dollars and ((two)) nineteen cents beginning July 1, ((2001)) 2003.

These charges shall be made for actual hours spent in performance of duties. This shall include unit charges, plus, if necessary, overtime charges to equal the respective overtime hourly rates.

The following are state legal holidays: New Year's Day, Veteran's Day, Memorial Day (the last Monday of May), Independence Day, Labor Day (the first Monday in September), Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday in November) and the day following Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (third Monday in January), and Presidents' Day (third Monday in February).

(d) When the per unit charge for inspection in any one day equals or exceeds the basic hourly and/or overtime charge, no additional hourly or overtime charges shall be assessed.

(6) Mileage -- Whenever necessary, mileage shall be charged at the rate established by the state office of financial management.

(7) Electronic transmission of documents -- Telegrams, facsimile, or electronic transmission of inspection documents shall be charged at the rate of four dollars per transmission in addition to Western Union charges made directly to the applicant.

(8) Services provided to other agencies -- Services provided to other agencies, commissions, and organizations shall be charged at the rate specified in subsection (1)(a) of this section.

(9) Timely payment -- Payment of fees and charges is due within thirty days after date of statement, provided:

(a) If payment is not received within thirty days, service may be withheld until the delinquent account is paid; or

(b) In the case of such delinquent accounts, cash payment for subsequent service may be required; and

(c) A penalty of eighteen percent per annum shall be assessed on the delinquent account balance.

(10) USDA positive lot identification -- Certification utilizing positive lot identification shall be charged at the rates specified in this section and WAC 16-400-010, 16-400-040, and 16-400-100. An additional charge of ten percent may be added when an inspector is required to be on-site when no other inspections are requested. Service will be provided first in those instances in which positive lot identification is a mandatory condition of the sales transaction. Other requests for positive lot identification will be serviced upon adequate notification to the inspection service and availability of inspection personnel.

(11) Controlled atmosphere license fee -- The application for an annual license to engage in the business of operating a controlled atmosphere storage warehouse or warehouses shall be accompanied by an annual license fee of five dollars per room, with a minimum fee established at twenty-five dollars for five rooms or less.

(12) Inspection fees may be waived on inspections of fruits and vegetables when donated to bona fide nonprofit organizations: Provided, That shipping containers shall be conspicuously labeled or marked as "not for resale."

(13) For apple pest certification by survey method; $.0075 per cwt. or fraction thereof, on all fresh apples produced in the state of Washington or marketed under Washington state grades and standards.

[Statutory Authority: Chapter 15.17 RCW. 01-11-086, 16-400-210, filed 5/16/01, effective 6/16/01; 98-10-083, 16-400-210, filed 5/5/98, effective 6/5/98; 96-10-060 (Order 5095), 16-400-210, filed 4/30/96, effective 5/31/96. Statutory Authority: Chapters 15.17 and 17.24 RCW. 94-16-060, (Order 5054), 16-400-210, filed 7/28/94, effective 8/28/94; 93-07-105 (Order 4019), 16-400-210, filed 3/23/93, effective 4/23/93; 92-06-022, 16-400-210, filed 2/25/92, effective 3/27/92. Statutory Authority: Chapter 15.17 RCW. 90-09-031 (Order 2031), 16-400-210, filed 4/11/90, effective 5/12/90; 89-08-040 (Order 2001), 16-400-210, filed 3/31/89; 86-08-081 (Order 1884), 16-400-210, filed 4/2/86; 85s-02-033 (Order 1845), 16-400-210, filed 12/31/84, effective 2/1/85. Statutory Authority: RCW 15.17.150. 78-06-025 (Order 1578), 16-400-210, filed 5/17/78; Order 1377, 16-400-210, filed 9/12/74; Order 1355, 16-400-210, filed 5/14/74, effective 7/1/74; Order 1317, 16-400-210, filed 5/30/73; Order 1121, 16-400-210, filed 6/30/69, effective 8/1/69; Emergency Order 1120, 16-400-210, filed 6/30/69; Emergency Order 1065 and Order 1066, Regulation 9, filed 9/15/67; Order 1066, effective 10/16/67; Order 1052, Regulation 9, filed 5/12/67; Order 989, Regulation 9, filed 8/3/65; Emergency Order 988, effective 8/3/65; Order 928, filed 7/8/63; Order 783, effective 3/1/59.]


NEW SECTION
WAC 16-400-215   Fresh produce audit verification program -- Good agricultural practices (GAP) and good handling practices (GHP) -- Fruits and vegetables.   Charges for good agricultural practices (GAP) and good handling practices (GHP) audit verifications certificates issued under this section shall be:

(1) At the rate of the federal market inspection hourly charge of forty-three dollars.

(2) Time allowance -- When applicable, travel time to and from the audit verification site shall be charged at the hourly rate of forty-three dollars.

(3) Mileage -- Whenever necessary, mileage shall be charged at the rate established by the state office of fiscal management.

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