In the face of a new state law meant to promote speedier building inspections, the Guilford County Planning Department wants to make sure that it has enough inspectors to fill that demand so that the work doesn’t go to state inspectors – who often don’t have a relationship with the local developers like county inspectors do.
Guilford County Planning Director Leslie Bell made his case to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners recently – arguing that, if the county doesn’t have enough inspectors to fill the demand in a timely manner, the department will lose revenue from those inspection fees. He also stated that local projects might suffer since a state inspector may not have as good of a working relationship with developers in the area.
“We just had some recent legislation that passed in the state,” Bell said. “That basically said that, if an inspection cannot be conducted within two business days of when it’s requested, then the person conducting the inspection has the right to engage ‘the marketplace’ – and that marketplace is a state marketplace.”
Bell told the county commissioners – who are currently in the process of forming the 2019-2020 budget – that he didn’t want to speak for local developers, but he did believe that most of those developers would rather work with a local inspector because they have over time formed good relationships with them.
Bell added that if the state sends an inspector then the county doesn’t get to keep that inspection fee but instead has to send it to the state.
He requested that the commissioners add one inspector to the Planning Department’s payroll. He suggested that it would take $40,000 to $65,000 annually to add the position.
Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Alan Branson said it might be hard to fill the position right now since the construction field is so active. Branson said he has trouble in this economy finding employees to man his trucking company.
Commissioner Jeff Phillips was clearly on board with the idea of adding an inspector.
“I think this is critically important to have,” Phillips said.
He also said that adding the position would help serve developers around the county and he added that the move is justified based on the increasing demand for the service in the current economy.