NEW YORK - A deal has been reached to reduce fines for city restaurants caught with minor health code violations.

The change comes in response to major complaints from small business owners who say fines skyrocketed when the Health Department began its current letter-grading system.

Officials say that 60 percent of violations will now have a maximum fine of $200, which is expected to reduce total fines by $10 million a year.

Previously, the amount of each fine was at the discretion of a hearing officer and could be as high as $2,000.