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City considers forming an internal building department

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by Robert Helde
[email protected]

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The Brooksville City Council met with Chris Anderson, Community Development Director, on January 19 to discuss the possibility of internalizing the building division and bringing on three additional positions. The intents behind internalizing the building department are to streamline services and to minimize the cost for the city. The city had previously contracted with PDCS, LLC, and is currently using the services of contractors.

The options for providing building permitting and inspection services are to contract with an external government entity, to hire an external vendor, or to internalize the department.
The continued use of external contractors is likely to create avoidable additional costs and disallow direct management. Based on previous analysis, the internalization of the building department will be the most cost-effective method to provide services.

Concern was raised about the specific funding methodology and discussion began, but the necessary information was not readily available to satisfy all questions raised.
The position of Building Official is currently occupied by a temporary hire and will need to be replenished. The position of building inspector will be taken over by Ron Heugal who is currently in the permit intake role. The permit intake position will then become available. Full staffing of the department will take about six months as estimated by Mr. Anderson.

Monies will come initially from the general fund to provide for the startup of the department. On the same topic of cost, the necessity of procuring additional trucks was addressed.

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Currently, there is one truck available for code enforcement and sometime after the department’s approval, an agenda item will be brought to the City Council for the addition of a second truck. Additional amendments will be necessary to allocate funds for new employee’s salaries. The City Council plans to consult with the auditor to seek advice on the best method from which to procure funding.

The plan going forward is to reconvene in February to provide the necessary time to get the further information back to the council, then the city council will vote on the matter. The intended meeting date is the first of the month however that may be delayed if necessary.
 

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