Lack of County Building Inspector Concerns Local Mayor
By Sara Kirkley, Weekend Anchor / Reporter - email
Some Hall County buildings may not be up to code.
It's been three years since the county's building inspector retired. Supervisor Gary Quandt said the board voted not to fill the position as a cost-saving measure.
Now, a local mayor is trying to make sure inspections get done.
As Mayor Greg Cramer looks over Wood River's new city hall, he's concerned about other buildings being built in Hall County.
"I think in the long term, it's better that we do something now," he said.
Without a county building inspector, Cramer said builders in his town only need to meet zoning laws and pass a state electrical inspection.
"There's not inspections on foundations, framing, plumbing. You know, if you do your wiring and actually don't do the electrical permit, they just don't get inspection. There's no egress, no life safety," he said.
"Certainly, it's dangerous," Grand Island Building Department Director Craig Lewis said of building jobs not done right.
He said plumbing, electrical, mechanical and structural aspects of a typical home are all inspected within city limits.
With complicated building codes changing every three years, not just anyone can be an inspector.
Paying for G.I.’s expertise is just one of the ideas Cramer thinks can work.
"Maybe use them as their service and pay them per inspection or have some type of interlocal agreement for a fee schedule," he said.
"We'll be willing to look at it, see what we can do to help them, having went through that process before to see if there was a possibility. Because of the location it's sometimes kind of difficult. It's hard to get there," said Lewis.
For now though, Cramer said not having a building inspector could slow Wood River's efforts to beautify and attract more residents.
"[Before] we could call them and say we've got an unsafe building. He could condemn it for us. That's something we can't do right now," he said.
Cramer has asked other village leaders to send a written request to the Hall County Board of Supervisors. He said leaders from Alda, Doniphan and Cairo talked about the issue three years ago, but no plan ever materialized.
Cramer also talked to the board this week. He said his goal is to protect Wood River residents for years to come.