Opp mayor, council create new inspector position

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The new Opp mayor and council are currently working to figure out ways for the city to be more efficient.

Mayor John Bartholomew said that they are looking at avenues that are potentially losing money within the city, and at ways to make them more productive.

“If you see an area that is losing money, we’ll investigate it,” he said.

First on the list is the hiring of a new building and license inspector for the city.

Previously, former City Planner Don Childre served as both the city’s planner and the building inspector.

But now, the mayor said the city needs a city planner and a building and license inspector, which required the city to create a new unclassified position.

The person hired for the new position will be responsible for permits, housing inspections, abating properties and other tasks similar to those.

Bartholomew told the council that Jason Bryan, who is responsible for the city’s planning, already filled the city planner position.

Childre is working as the part-time Rattlesnake Rodeo event planner.

Bartholomew said the newly created position would have a starting pay of $25,000, but the salary would increase with certifications.

“This will be a self-sustaining position,” he said.

Bartholomew and Bryan introduced a new building code to the council that would change the current code from Southern Building Code to the more broadly used International Code Council. They also asked the council to consider increases in the inspecting fees to put the city more in line with Andalusia’s fees.

Currently, the city is operating on fees established in 1976, which have not been updated.

Under the current building fee schedule, a builder who is building a $200,000 home pays the city a $12.50 origination fee and $1.50 per $1,000 of the contract value for a total of $312.50.

Under the proposed fee schedule, the same $200,000 home requires an origination fee of $450 and $3 per $1,000 over the first $100,000. Total cost would be $750.

“Ultimately, these fees would be used for his pay,” Bryan said. “We hope for it to be self-sufficient.”

City Clerk Connie Smith told the council with the number of calls she receives, she’s “confident” the position will be self-supporting.

Bartholomew said there’s an ongoing problem with contractors and subcontractors not being properly licensed in the city, and there is a great need to ensure that the local residents have qualified contractors.

“We are failing our citizens, if we don’t do that properly,” he said.

All council members agreed there was a need for the new position.

The council will vote on the new fee schedule at the next meeting.