Steamboat Springs A Windsor-based building services contractor is starting to make a lot of noise in Routt County.
SAFEbuilt Colorado, formerly the Colorado Inspection Agency, has responded to a request for proposal sent out by the city of Steamboat Springs for building services. In September, the company signed a contract with the town of Hayden to provide similar services.
Hayden and Steamboat canceled their agreements with the Routt County Regional Building Department this summer. The agreements require 12 months notice of cancellation, so they probably will remain in place until summer 2008.
Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said it would take several months to review SAFEbuilt's proposal, but she is initially impressed with it.
"It was very responsive to our proposal," DuBord said. "They responded in a very complete and professional response."
David Thomsen, SAFEbuilt's chief operating officer, said the company provides building departments for 22 Colorado communities. Most of those are on the Front Range, but the company set up offices in Eagle County two years ago and is looking to increase its Western Slope presence.
"One of the main reasons is the growth in the area," Thomsen said.
The only other proposal the city received in response to their request for proposal was a letter from the Routt County Board of Commissioners. The letter outlines why commissioners believe the city should remain part of the county's building department and lists possible steps that could improve the relationship, but the two-page letter - by its own admission - is not a formal response to the request for proposal.
DuBord said last week that the county's letter would be considered along with any other responses, but she suggested otherwise Thursday.
"If they had given us a full proposal, we would have evaluated it alongside," DuBord said. "At this point in time, I can only evaluate the response that I have in response to the RFP."
Additionally, City Council President Susan Dellinger suggested there probably wouldn't be any policy decisions giving the county another chance.
"I think the city did evaluate the county, and that's where we're at," Dellinger said.
While Hayden's departure from the county building department has progressed affably, Steamboat's has been a contentious issue. Local contractors have spoke largely in favor of preserving the city's relationship with the county department, while city officials have been unwavering in their belief that they can provide a higher level of service through an outside contractor.
Steamboat construction constitutes the majority of the Routt County Regional Building Department's work. The city's departure would mean massive budget and personnel cuts, county officials said. County Building Official Carl Dunham said in July that $707,416 in building fees were collected in Steamboat last year, compared with $592,301 for the rest of the county. Dunham said he has about 15 employees.
If SAFEbuilt ends up coming to Steamboat, the new city department could absorb some of the county staff losses. Thomsen said the company likes to hire locals.
"That's absolutely our preference," Thomsen said. "The only time we look to hire out of the area is when there aren't any resources available. It's a better situation for us because we have local knowledge."
Thomsen also denied a concern of some county officials that the company would leave Steamboat as soon as the building boom subsides.
"With our company, we look for additional work in the area to make that area sustainable," Thomsen said. "We're committed to them for the long haul."