County, city merge building department, consider other mergers | CraigDailyPress.com

County, city merge building department, consider other mergers







— Though new construction is slow, local builders and contractors — whether within the city of Craig or in Moffat County — now share one building department for permits and inspections.

In an effort to make government more efficient and reduce budget expenditures, the merger is the first of several possible departments the city and county is looking at merging. Effective Feb. 1, the new regional building department is housed in City Hall and is overseen by building inspector Marlin Eckhoff.

"Our goal was to create an entity that lasts a long time where the city and county both save money, where it's efficient and it makes sense," said Moffat County Development Services Director Roy Tipton.

The shift comes with surprisingly few changes for local builders, as the city and county already use the same building codes. Permitting fees will go up about 10 percent for those working in the county in order to match current city fees, but Tipton noted there hasn't been a rate hike since 2008.

Compelled by budget distress, the county let go of its long-time building inspector at the end of 2016.

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"We're trying to save half of a full time employee. It was costing us roughly $90,000 before when you count in the cost of benefits," Tipton said.

The city currently requires contractors to be licensed, while the county only requires that a contractor be insured and registered with the county. Neither aspect will change with the merger.

"Everything will pretty much be business as usual other than a little more lead time for inspections, and a slight increase in county permitting," Eckhoff said, noting that contractors and homeowners in the city have become used to doing inspections on short notice.

The city and county are also discussing possible cooperative agreements or mergers in their Information Technology departments as well as Parks and Recreation.

"We're trying to find out: is it better to have two entities running parks and rec in the county or better to have one entity running the whole parks and rec system?" said Craig City Manager Mike Foreman. "Both the city and county's main goal is to provide best possible service for the citizens."

For more information about licensing, registration or permits, visit the Craig/Moffat County Regional Building Department website located on the city's website, or call Eckhoff at 970-826-2013.

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