County Code Enforcement Requesting Staffing Increase for 2013

With permit and construction activity on the rise, Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement plans to ask for a sizable staffing increase to better manage its increased workload and improve turnaround times for plan review and inspections.

The department’s request, which will go before the Board of County Commissioners on December 4, would appropriate more than $1.1 million in permit fee revenue to create 21 new positions, including 3 plan reviewers and 13 inspectors, four of whom would focus on the Inspection by Appointment program. The department hopes to have most of the new staff hired by next spring and up to speed by early summer.

The need for increased Code Enforcement staffing is based on the continued growth in permit activity, which has resulted in the following trends over the past four months:

    Permits issued in Mecklenburg County are up at least 7% above the same time period in FY 2012;Inspection service demand is up more than 15% above the same period in 2012;Commercial plan review applications now include more large projects, which have driven up the demand for plan review hours 35% above the previous year.

At its regular meeting on November 20, the county’s Building-Development Commission (BDC) unanimously approved the department’s request, which means it could appear on the Dec. 4 commission agenda as a consent item. During their discussion, members of the BDC emphasized that they intend to revisit this issue in the coming year, to see if increasing activity can lead to a reduction in permit fees. For now, they supported spending the department’s additional revenue on staffing and technology to ensure that plan reviews and inspections can be handled as efficiently as possible, minimizing delays and improving customer service.

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