Steamboat Springs The Routt County Board of Commissioners gave its blessing Tuesday to a plan to hire a part-time temporary building inspector to help the county’s Regional Planning Department get through lean staffing at the same time the 117,000-square-foot Casey’s Pond Senior Living community is poised to come out of the ground near the corner of U.S. Highway 40 and Walton Creek Road.
The Regional Building Department serves the city of Steamboat Springs and the county. It is funded by the permit fees it collects from building projects. With construction activity just a fraction of what it was six years ago, the department has cut staffing to the point that there is only one full-time inspector. Building Official Carl Dunham provides backup.
“I am looking for a qualified combination inspector to be available every weekday to conduct as many inspections as may be requested by our customers,” Dunham wrote in a memo to the commissioners. “They would only need to work as many hours as needed, up to eight hours, to perform the required tasks for that day. There would be a one and one-half- to two-hour minimum ‘show-up time’ each working day.”
He told the commissioners this week that last construction season he spent more than half of his time out of the office conducting inspections, which significantly cut into the time he needed to devote to administrative duties.
“With Casey’s Pond (Senior Living community), there will be days when an inspector will be out there every day,” Dunham said. “We took in significant permit fees for Casey’s Pond and they expect service in return.”
Not including plan check fees that were paid in 2011, the permit fee for the new senior community was $78,000, Dunham said.
Dunham told the commissioners he would not spend more than $30,460 on the part-time employee.
Commission Chairman Doug Monger, who also sits on the Building Department Oversight Committee, which endorsed the plan, said the county and the city consistently have said they want to ensure that as the construction economy begins to heal, the reduced staffing at the Building Department doesn’t further delay the healing process.
“We’re trying to make sure we don’t have contractors idling and we have the promptest responses we can with our reduced staff,” Monger said. “And now we’re seeing a little pickup in activity.”
Monger added that geography alone makes it difficult to cover the county with one full-time inspector and the department administrator.
Dunham said he will advertise the position and that the successful applicant could be either an experienced building inspector or a veteran building professional.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com