Mission approves short-term plan to outsource building inspection functions

Mission_City_Hall

By Jerry LaMartina

Mission is officially seeking to outsource its building-inspection and plan-review services for 90 days starting Jan. 1.

At its meeting last week, the Mission City Council unanimously approved authorization for City Administrator Laura Smith and Mayor Steve Schowengerdt to contract with a third party to provide the short-term services, with a budgetary allotment of $85,000. Smith said after the meeting that she and the mayor were underway on finding a company to provide the services.

A longer-term contract for the services also would have to be approved by the council.

The council said at its Dec. 14 Community Development Committee meeting that Johnson County had notified the city in October that it would no longer be able to provide the services to the city after Dec. 31. The county has been providing the services to Mission since 2009, and Mission is the only city for which the county provides the services.

Mission’s contract with the county requires it to give a 30-day notice to the city before discontinuing the services.

Before the county started providing the services in 2009, Mission provided them partly in-house and partly through contracts with other entities. Mission keeps about 30 percent of the fees for the services and passes on the remainder to the county.

The city has issued an average of 400 permits a year for the past three years and collected about $183,600 for commercial and residential permit and plan-review fees combined in 2014, nearly $238,000 in 2015 and slightly more than $107,000 in 2016.

The city expects that residents and contractors will continue the normal process of applying for permits, submitting required documents and paying required fees while the short-term plan is in effect, according to council documents. If city staff can’t issue a permit over the counter, the information will be given to the contracted service provider within 24 hours of receipt in order for it to proceed.

The city requires the first set of review comments to be provided within 10 business days. If necessary, the third-party contractor will contact other contractors, architects, engineers and citizens directly about construction projects, code questions or other issues. The city expects inspections to be completed within 24 hours of scheduling.

The city anticipates that the contracted provider’s responsibilities will include:

  • Inspect and review plans for general building, mechanical (HVAC), plumbing, structural and electrical, and other categories, and provide all administrative documentation the city requires.
  • Inspect permitted construction within city limits for compliance with codes, ordinances, permitted plans and specifications.
  • Receive and investigate complaints of code violations.
  • Prepare written reports of inspections, complaint investigations and other matters.
  • Maintain records of inspections and investigations.
  • Review plans for code compliance.
  • Perform these duties during normal business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or at other times with mutual agreement.
  • Possibly attend meetings or consult with the city, citizens and others.

Mission also recently reviewed its rental-inspection program and rental-dwelling code. At an Oct. 26 work session, Finance Director Brian Scott said the review was prompted by a state law passed during the summer requiring consent of a rental unit’s occupant before an interior inspection is conducted.