The Taney County Health Department confirms that their inspection of an extended stay motel that lost power due to an unpaid utility bill, turned up multiple violations — including pests.
An investigation was launched after residents at the 76-Inn on the Branson strip complained of bed bugs and cockroaches.
The health department is now operating under a new team system that will make it easier for them to protect the public and hold businesses accountable.
“We now really work and partner with the city of Branson — their building department, their finance department, code enforcement and the fire department,” said Craig Rhoads, Environmental Manager for the Taney County Health Department.
He says in previous years, the department received their authority from the state. But now, under their new partnership with the city of Branson, it’s a local effort.
“We now can do things here and take it to the local city courts, prosecute if need be,” Rhoads said, “But within the local ordinance we now have the ability to make people have professional pests management programs…where in the past they could self treat.”
Rhoads says on their team, each department has a role when doing inspections.
“Taney County Health Department – we really focus on the health and the cleanliness and the pests etc. Whereas fire is going to focus on those life-safety type of issues.”
However, complaints have always been handled promptly.
“Soon as we get a complaint, we respond within 24-hours.”
So, how often did the Taney County Health Department receive complaints about the 76 Inn?
“In the past we’ve had really good results with 76 Inn,” said Rhoads. “Over the last say four, or five, six months – we’ve had some bad things happen. We’ve had 7 complaints since January of 2018.”
Rhoads believes that over the next year, or two, there will be a major decline in pests issues, mold issues, life safety issues, etc. because they’re dealing with it now at the local level.