County Executive Jimmy Haley informed the Policy and Personnel Committee that a new version of the state building codes has to be adopted.
“We’re already behind,” said Haley. “We are using 2012 and the codes that we use cannot be used any more than six years so we are going to have to adopt either the 2015 or 2018 building codes.”
According to Haley, codes director Rich Thompson got an $11,959 increase in salary because he will be assuming the responsibility for electrical and plumbing inspections that had previously been done by the state. Thompson’s original salary was $36,341 before increasing to $48,300.
Commissioner Tommy Savage said he’d discussed this topic with Thompson as well.
“He said the biggest difference was the energy savings part of it and he said there’s not a lot of difference and of course on the fire marshal inspection, what he is going to be doing, that will be mostly commercial and multifamily dwellings like apartments,” said Savage.
Haley continued, “So, there are some things, or whatever, that we are going to have to work out on that … particularly on new fee schedules as well. He should be able to generate enough revenue from saving the county that money and charging it off to his department to cover the increase in his salary.”
Savage spoke to inform the committee the state already has a list with fee specifications so all the commissioners would have to do is adopt those.
“It might be best to go with 2018,” advised Haley. “We are going to have to look at the energy code as part of that. We can adopt the 2015 energy code and the 2018 building codes. You can do that.”
Asked Commissioner Steven Helton, “So you can build it a certain way but then it has a different energy? I don’t know anything about codes.”
Answered Haley, “There’s mechanical code, plumbing code and Rich cannot assume these duties unless we adopt the 2015 or 2018. We can’t be anything less than 2015. He can’t do these inspections without it. We have to adopt it or readjust what he is doing.”
After the meeting, Haley said the city of McMinnville is operating under the 2012 codes and whatever the city is doing the county will try to do as well.
When contacted, city administrator Nolan Ming confirmed they have to operate within seven years and although the city and county codes don’t have to match, it makes it easier on contractors. Ming also said they have plans to adopt an early version of building codes sometime next year.
Due to the confusion, it is unclear which building code the county will opt to adopt.