BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Erie County is the only county in New York State that does not make inspections of restaurants available to the public.
News 4 has learned that the county could have provided public access to these inspections as long as two years ago but has dragged its feet on getting the information out.
In 2009, Erie County entered into a contract with Healthspace USA to computerize all of its health-related inspections. According to the company president, part of the offered contract included developing a website on restaurant inspections. But he says the county did not take them up on the offer.
Healthspace President Joseph Willmott said, “We have discussed posting their website for them, and it’s just one of the things they haven’t proceeded with yet at this time.”
The website would take only about a month to create, and Willmott says it could have been implemented years ago.
“They’ve been recording restaurant inspections for the last two years, so they could have had it up then.”
The Erie County Executive’s Office could not say why this was not done two years ago, but did say a new website might be up and running in the next few months.
Peter Anderson, a spokesman for County Executive Mark Poloncarz, said, “When this does go live and Erie County residents are able to get on, we will have a searchable, very user friendly database that they can access to find out about restaurants.”
News 4 obtained the restaurant inspection data from Erie County and made it available for everyone.
The state has its own website for restaurant inspections, but Erie County only provides the state information on a quarterly basis, and by then, officials say it is too old to be of any value to the consumer.