WSR 98-09-099

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

[Filed April 22, 1998, 10:10 a.m.]



Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 98-06-096.

Title of Rule: Metrology laboratory fees, chapter 16-675 WAC, Calibration services.

Purpose: Increase metrology laboratory fees from $65.00 per hour to $75.00 per hour.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 19.94.216.

Statute Being Implemented: Chapter 19.94 RCW.

Summary: This rule provides a fee increase which applies to all services performed by the metrology laboratory. Mileage and per diem costs are charged for metrology services performed at sites other than the metrology laboratory.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: RCW 19.94.216(1) states that the metrology laboratory shall recover at least 75% of the laboratory's costs incurred in providing services by June 30, 1998.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Jerry Buendel, 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, WA, (360) 902-1856.

Agency Comments or Recommendations, if any, as to Statutory Language, Implementation, Enforcement, and Fiscal Matters: RCW 19.94.216(1) provides for these fees to be increased in excess of the fiscal growth factor as provided in chapter 43.135 RCW.

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

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: This rule increases the fee for inspection, testing and calibration services provided by the department's metrology laboratory. RCW 19.94.216 stipulates that fees charged for services performed by the metrology laboratory would recover at least 75% of the laboratory's costs on or before June 30, 1998. Further, increases in excess of the fiscal growth factor are authorized for fiscal years 1996, 1997 and 1998. This increase in fees is an adjustment to comply with the statutory requirement.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: This proposal changes the current metrology laboratory fee schedule from $65 per hour to $75 per hour.

A small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW.



Small Business Economic Impact Statement

From a survey of businesses conducted by my program staff we determined that the proposed rule change regarding the increase of metrology lab fees will affect businesses in the industry of service agents. Service agents repair and test weighing and measuring devices for all companies owning and operating these devices in Washington state.

Service agents pay the Washington State Department of Agriculture's (WSDA) weights and measure's metrology laboratory to calibrate their testing devices in accordance with official measurement standards maintained by the department. According to RCW 19.94.325, the testing devices used by service agents must be calibrated and sealed every two years. The increase of fees by $10.00 is below the last known guidelines of the Small Business Assistance Center, which was $50.00.

The department conducted a random survey of twenty-five service agents classified as small business (under fifty employees). Twenty percent indicated the laboratory fee increase would impose a hardship on their business. The department also submitted the proposed increase to its sixteen member advisory group. The advisory group is composed of consumer group representatives as well as industry representatives. To date none have responded negatively to the proposed increase.

The department's position is that it cannot legally mitigate the economic impact on the service repair agents because of statutory instruction passed in 1994. The legislature passed state law, chapter 19.94 RCW, Weights and measures, instructing the department to incrementally increase fees to cover 75% of the cost of the metrology laboratory. Even with this fee increase, the fees may fall short of the mandated goal. The financial justification of operating the metrology laboratory on a fee basis is included in the official rule file and will be available at the public rule hearing. In addition, a copy of the legislative mandate will be provided and filed accordingly.

The fee increase will not require businesses to purchase new equipment, additional supplies or to hire additional labor resources. The cost of complying with the proposed rule should also not cause service repair businesses to lose sales or revenue.



A copy of the statement may be obtained by writing to Washington State Department of Agriculture, Jerry Buendel, Program Manager, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1857, or FAX (360) 902-2086.

Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, does not apply to this rule adoption. Washington State Department of Agriculture is not a listed agency in section 201.

Hearing Location: Natural Resources Building, 2nd Floor, Room 205, 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, WA 98504, on May 26, 1998, at 12:30 p.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Cathy Jensen by May 22, 1997 [1998], TDD (360) 902-1996, or (360) 902-1976.

Submit Written Comments to: Washington State Department of Agriculture, Jerry Buendel, Program Manager, P.O. Box 42560, or 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, FAX (360) 902-2086, by 5:00 p.m., May 26, 1998.

Date of Intended Adoption: May 27, 1998.

April 20, 1998

Julie C. Sandberg

Assistant Director

OTS-2157.1

AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 97-12-024, filed 5/29/97, effective 6/29/97)



WAC 16-675-030  Condition of submitted weights and measures. Weights and measures standards submitted to the laboratory for tolerance testing or calibration must be in a physical condition that makes them acceptable for the service to be performed. Unacceptable weights and measures standards may be returned to the sender at the sender's expense or, if repairs can be made, these repairs shall be charged at the rate of (($65.00)) seventy-five dollars an hour. Repair fees shall be charged in addition to any testing or other calibration fees. Repairs will only be done by written agreement between the department and the owner of the weights or measures to be repaired.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 19.94.216 and 19.94.325. 97-12-024, 16-675-030, filed 5/29/97, effective 6/29/97; 95-21-097 (Order 5084), 16-675-030, filed 10/18/95, effective 11/18/95. Statutory Authority: Chapter 19.94 RCW. 94-12-035, 16-675-030, filed 5/25/94, effective 6/25/94. Statutory Authority: RCW 19.94.190 and chapter 19.94 RCW. 90-24-004 (Order 2063), 16-675-030, filed 11/26/90, effective 12/27/90.]



AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 97-12-024, filed 5/29/97, effective 6/29/97)



WAC 16-675-040  Schedule of laboratory fees. The following fees will be charged for services performed by the metrology laboratory of the department:

(1) An hourly fee of ((sixty-five)) seventy-five dollars per hour will be charged for inspection, tolerance testing and calibration services performed at the metrology laboratory.

(2) Inspection, tolerance testing and calibration services performed at other than the metrology laboratory will be charged an hourly rate of ((sixty-five)) seventy-five dollars per hour plus the current mileage and per diem rates established by the office of financial management.

(3) There will be a minimum one-half hour charge for any services provided by the laboratory.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 19.94.216 and 19.94.325. 97-12-024, 16-675-040, filed 5/29/97, effective 6/29/97; 95-21-097 (Order 5084), 16-675-040, filed 10/18/95, effective 11/18/95. Statutory Authority: Chapter 19.94 RCW. 94-12-035, 16-675-040, filed 5/25/94, effective 6/25/94. Statutory Authority: RCW 19.94.190 and chapter 19.94 RCW. 90-24-004 (Order 2063), 16-675-040, filed 11/26/90, effective 12/27/90.]

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