Stanford tries to resolve lack of city building inspector

October 22, 2003|EMILY BURTON

STANFORD - The hunt continues for a solution to the city's building inspector vacancy as City Council members examine possible candidates and the county inspector stops picking up the slack.

According to Rhonda Brown, Lincoln County P&Z administrative enforcement officer and resident building inspector, the county P&Z office is not taking on any new city clients. County inspector Ronnie Caudill will finish his current commitments in Stanford "until we hear otherwise," said Brown.

The city has been without an inspector for several months after Danny Gilliam failed to get the required state certification for building inspections.

The City Council began advertising for the position last week in local papers after interviewing one applicant during a special meeting Oct. 15. Since that time, Mayor Eddie Carter said he has interviewed an additional applicant.


Last week, applicant Tom Phelps of Lincoln County appeared before the Stanford P&Z Commission as well as the City Council to discuss his qualification

Phelps said he had experience inspecting remodeled and finished buildings but has not inspected any new buildings from the ground up. An Army veteran, he is drawing disability pay for service-connected disabilities but said his condition will not affect his ability to inspect buildings.

If hired, Phelps would not draw a salary but rather would work under contract with the city.

Currently, the city is contracting with Caudill for each inspection and paying county rates for those visits. City Council members voiced their concern over the rates, which are higher than what the city would have charged.

Mike Godbey, P&Z chairman, said the commission had thought the county building inspector would charge city rates when making city inspections.

"We were under the impression that he was operating on our fee schedule ... that's a city ordinance, actually," said Godbey.

Council members agreed they were concerned about costs but also about buildings needing to be inspected in the near future.

"I would just like to voice my concern that a lot of us are uncertain on who there (in the county office) is inspecting and what they're inspecting," said council member Steve Lucas.

"There's a possibility the county could take it over; that's something we're going to have to look at," said Carter. Among Carter's concerns is the added financial burden of insurance costs an employee would bring to the city.

No matter what the council's final decision, Carter said he felt Caudill has been doing an excellent job and has received no complaints.

"It's not that big of a problem. Nobody's complained; it's just a situation we need to resolve," said Carter. "We're doing the best we can until we get somebody. It's not the best situation, but we're doing the best we can."

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