Friday, December 12, 2008

Why doesn't City charge plumbing / electrical inspection fees?

Mayor Rick Gray announced at Tuesday's City Council meeting that plumbing and electrical inspections will be out sourced to outside firms and the results would be an anticipated savings of $140,000 by eliminating city inspectors.

NewsLanc inquired to determine whether $140,000 savings would be real or, at least in part, illusionary.

According to Randy S. Patterson, Director of Economic Development and Neighborhood Revitalization:

"The City does not charge for plumbing inspections. We charge for issuing plumbing permits....We will continue to collect building permit fees. However, under the organizational/programmatic change, the cost of inspections will now be the responsibility of the property owner."

"The one exception will be residential properties. We will eventually have a Residential Building Inspector who will be certified to do single family residential plumbing inspections. This person will continue to be a City employee. We may, in the future, charge for inspections. However, at the present time we do not plan to require single family residential property owners to pay for inspections."

So NewsLanc's question is this: Why doesn't the City simply charge for inspections, since this is exactly what the non-city inspectors will do in the future? Then there would be no lay offs.

It appears that the reason for outsourcing involves issues other than saving money.