Deal reached in restaurant inspection fines

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has worked out an agreement with the Health Department to lower fines for minor restaurant violations.

Some are being reduced to levels before the city instituted a letter grade system in 2010.

Under the agreement, 60 percent of all violations will result in the minimum $200 fine.

Previously, fines were up to the discretion of a hearing officer. In some cases, that resulted in fines as high as $2,000 for minor offenses.

The changes will reduce total fines collected by more than $10 million a year.

Quinn is also backing legislation that would allow restaurant owners to request an inspection consultation to help identify problems before they are graded.

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