DENVER (AP) -- Fines for restaurant safety violations in Denver surged from about $100,000 to more than $700,000 in just one year.
Restaurant owners are blaming higher fines for the increase, while city officials say they have stepped up enforcement to keep people safe.
According to KCNC-TV, the city collected about $120,000 in fines in 2010 from restaurants for critical violations. In 2011, under the new policy, the department collected more than $730,000 in fines, even though the number of foodborne illness complaints stayed about the same.
Under the new fine system, a restaurant gets a warning, then a $250 fine or more for the second violation. The third time, it can be up to $1,000 for each violation, which can quickly add up.
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