Carson City supervisors vote to cut staff at Building Department in half | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City supervisors vote to cut staff at Building Department in half

Sandi Hoover
shoover@nevadaappeal.com

The Carson City Building Department will operate with half its normal staff and will drop inspections of certain items in order to deal with declining revenues.

The board of supervisors voted Thursday to cut the number of people working in the building department from six to three. The department also will eliminate roof nail, insulation, wallboard and energy efficiency inspections during the plan review process. Those items will be looked at during the final inspection of any building project.

“We find ourselves in troubled waters here,” Public Works Director Andy Burnham told supervisors.

Revenues for the Building Enterprise Fund were budgeted at $676,000 for the current fiscal year, but projections based on the first four months indicate that only $300,000 can be

expected.

During the building boom several years ago, Burnham said, the department could expect as much as $1.6 million in revenue, and operated with a staff of 13.

The three employees to be cut will be moved to unfilled jobs available in other areas of Public Works such as the landfill, sewer or water divisions, so that no one will be laid off and they can be moved back when the construction industry gains momentum.

The salary savings will not result in a balanced budget for the Building Enterprise Fund, however, so supervisors also approved a transfer of about $200,000 from the General Fund.

“Obviously, the General Fund has its own set of problems,” Burnham said, but the Building Depart-

ment is required to stay

solvent.

Supervisor Shelly Aldean said she wanted to be sure the public doesn’t suffer as a result of the cuts.

“We don’t want to discourage people (with) an inability to process permits,” she said.

Contractor Dwight Millard suggested builders might be able to hire their own inspectors so that quality isn’t sacrificed.

“If it was important to do a Sheetrock inspection a year ago, why isn’t it now, as public safety?” Millard said.

“As you move forward, maybe it would be better to have it done contractually so you don’t have to ramp up and ramp down,” he said.

Sheena Beaver, director of government affairs for the Builders Association of Western Nevada, said BAWN supports the measure and doesn’t see it as a relaxation of efforts, but rather an opportunity for builders to meet code through better individual scrutiny, especially as building starts to pick back up.

The city’s Chief Building Official Kevin Gattis said he was not happy with the cuts in staff or services, but would work to make the efforts a success.

“I am not in favor of this by any means as the building official, but I understand,” Gattis said. “I hate to see our industry going backwards. We’re going to do everything we can, but there will be effects.”

Contractor Mark Turner said he understood the new constraints.

“All you’re doing here is tightening your belts like everyone else,” he said, adding that he recently got two building permits and expects to get about eight more in the near future.

“We’ve got a little activity right now,” he said.汤