85 apply for Carbondale building inspector

Job listing popular during construction slowdown

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— A national slowdown in the construction industry has spawned an amazing 85 applicants for an open Carbondale building inspector job.

But that same slowdown has the town rethinking its earlier plan to hire a full-time building official, a job for which it has relied on an outside contractor in the recent past.

"I'd say it's a pretty unprecedented level of interest," Carbondale Town Manager Tom Baker said about the number of applicants, adding it's a likely reflection of the slowdown in construction locally and nationally.

However, of the 85 applications the town has received for the position, only 16 are from residents, he said.

Carbondale's building inspector had been a full-time position until it became too hard to keep it filled for any length of time because of competition from more-lucrative jobs in the private sector. So the town started contracting out for the services a few years ago.

After re-evaluating that practice last year, town officials decided it would be more cost-effective to return to a full-time position for building inspections and other related duties.

Baker said the current contract building inspector, Kevin Roberts, opted against taking a staff position, so the town began taking applications. The position pays from $45,000 to $80,000, depending on experience.

However, the slowdown in building activity locally and a concerted effort on the town's part to control spending amidst the economic downturn may change those plans.

To date, Carbondale has not seen a single housing start permit this year, compared to 17 through January and February last year. The five building permits the town has issued this year are for remodels, Baker said.

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