Town of Hayden turns to Routt County Building Department during construction boom
HAYDEN — With the town of Hayden experiencing a building boom, it was important to have a system in place that ensured codes were being followed and builders were getting the support they needed in a timely manner.
To meet that need, the town hired the Routt County Regional Building Department.
“It’s just running so efficiently, and they are so responsive,” Hayden Town Manager Mathew Mendisco said.
“Our contractors have even complimented that they are far and above what we were getting before,” Mendisco said. “The most important thing is that they’re available for requests for information and answer questions from contractors within 24 hours.”
Mendisco said that was not the level of service they were getting before switching to Routt County.
In recent years, the town had been contracting out its building department services to SAFEbuilt, based in Loveland, and there had been a notable drop in the quality of the service after a longtime employee of the company left.
“That was kind of a very sudden thing,” Mendisco said.
With a continued affordable housing crisis in Steamboat Springs, there were no signs of construction slowing down, so Hayden town officials knew they needed to make a change and look elsewhere for building department services.
“It’s probably one of the most important things we could do,” Mendisco said.
In 2015, the town had only a single building permit pulled. There were a total of 22 permits pulled in 2017, and there have been 41 so far this year.
“Those are huge increases,” said Mendisco, who added he thought the number would be even larger if there were more construction workers to do the work.
The town put out a request for proposals for building department services. SAFEbuilt did not submit one.
The town interviewed the two organizations that turned in proposals, including Routt County.
“They (Routt County) were just far and above what the other company was going to be able to offer,” Mendisco said.
The town signed an intergovernmental agreement, and Routt County got to work in July.
“The transition went smooth,” Routt County building official Todd Carr said.
In fall 2017, the Routt County Building Department added two more employees to handle the increase in construction the Yampa Valley was seeing.
Carr said this has allowed the building department to meet the demand, even with the addition of Hayden.
Now, Routt County is handling all the building department needs for the entire county, including the city of Steamboat Springs, which at one time considered not having Routt County handle its building department services.
“I think we’re rare as a county to provide service to the entire county,” Carr said.
Carr said he thinks the county’s current building department setup works because of its population and location.
“The goal of running a building department is breaking even as much as possible,” Carr said.
In addition to overseeing commercial and residential projects, the county is now certified to handle building services for public schools.
That will soon be useful for the town of Hayden as the Hayden School District embarks on construction of a new school campus.
The school district hopes to break ground on the project this spring.
Tri-State Generation & Transmission unveiled its new Responsible Energy Plan this week, which will transition the company’s power portfolio further into renewables to reduce electric rates for its members.