NEW YORK - New York City lawmakers are proposing changes to the current restaurant inspection system in an effort to give failing establishments a chance to clean up their acts.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene introduced a letter grading system in 2010 aimed at helping the public to make informed decisions about where to dine. Restaurant owners said the grading methods were too harsh and inconsistent.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn has proposed a reduction in fines across the board and waived fines for restaurant owners who appeal a bad grade and make changes to improve. It would also allow for the development of a manual for restaurants to review basic standards prior to an inspection.

The legislation includes the creation of an advisory board to address complaints and compliments for restaurants.

Quinn says the fines would be reduced by 15 to 20 percent if the proposal is passed. She hopes to pass the legislation as soon as possible and no later than this coming fall.