ST. CLOUD -- The President of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce is pushing back against a fee increase for therapeutic massage establishments in the city.

During Monday night's meeting, the city council unanimously passed several changes to the ordinance that regulates the businesses, including the license fee going from $76 to $300.

Health and Inspections Director Matt O'Brien told the council the additional revenue is needed to pay for the new inspection process.

Obviously the more in-depth ordinance takes a lot more work, so not only is the inspection process is much more in-depth, the inspection frequency is much higher.  We're going to be out there every year at every single establishment in addition to a more in-depth background check and more in-depth enforcement process.

O'Brien says the city had been collecting about $2,000 a year through fees, now it will be collecting an additional $10,000.

Chamber President Teresa Bohnen talked about the increases Thursday on the News @ Noon Show. She says she's heard from chamber members about the 400 percent increase in fees, which caught them off guard.

You've got the people who are following the rules paying to figure out the people who aren't following the rules, so how do we structure this so that the penalty comes down where it really should be.

Bohnen says if fees had to be increased, they should have been phased in. She says professional bonafide businesses want monitoring against illegal activity, but they shouldn't have to bear the brunt of paying for it.

She says she's hoping to talk to city council members about possibly revisiting the issue at a future meeting.

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