News Restaurant letter-grade system overhaul could bring fine relief A restaurant letter grade in an eatery's window Photo Credit: Getty Images/Mario Tama By CRISTIAN SALAZAR March 21, 2014 6:26 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email The city's letter-grade system for restaurant health inspections could get less onerous — and less costly — under reforms being proposed by lawmakers. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said that the reforms to the grading system introduced by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg would signficantly reduce fines for restaurants while still upholding safety standards. Restaurants could see a reduction of 25 percent in fines under the new rules, which could mean a drop in revenue for the city of about $10 million a year. "Letter grading was never intended to be a revenue generator for the city of New York," Mark-Viverito said. The New York City Hospitality Alliance said it had advocated for similar reforms. Since its debut in 2010, the letter-grading system has been criticized for being inconsistent and arbitrary. Some critics charge that the system is nothing more than a moneymaking scheme. City health officials say the system has led to a decrease in food poisoning cases. Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said the health standards weren't changing. Anyone can submit comments on the proposed changes online here until 5 p.m. on April 29. By CRISTIAN SALAZAR Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.