09/20/2011 07:37 EDT | Updated 11/20/2011 05:12 EST

Ottawa Public Health: User Fees May Be Necessary To Fund 'High Need Programs'

OTTAWA - Ottawa's top doctor won't rule out user fees as a way to boost revenue for Ottawa Public Health.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Isra Levy told the Board of Health that nothing specific has been considered, but the department is exploring the issue and all options to help balance the budget.

Levy admits the city could offer more courses at a charge like the current food handler training course.

Ottawa Public Health is asking for an extra $500,000 next year for what it calls "high need programs."

The draft 2012 budget outlines $52.7 million in spending next year, with $11.5 million funded through the city of Ottawa's property tax bill.

Public Health is requesting an extra $200,000 to increase inspections for tattoo and piercing establishments and outdoor food vendors.