Help With Building Permits | VideoAlex Hagan | 7/23/2012
Construction in Dickinson is needed to keep up with the population growth. However, that also means more paperwork. And there aren`t enough workers to go through all the forms.
"We`ve issued, I believe, $135 million or thereabout on building permits year to date and so that`s an area that is definitely a challenge for us," said City Administrator Shawn Kessel.
And the shortage of qualified inspectors is creating a backlog.
"It`s difficult to hire in today`s competitive environment. We tried one round of hearings and we weren`t able to get any qualified applicants," said City Planner Ed Courton.
The number of permits for single family dwellings is now eight times higher than was last year. Commercial structure permits have doubled as well.
"We`re approximately 30 to 40 commercial building permits behind, as of today," Kessel said.
The overload has prompted city leaders to look to another city for help.
"We`re still behind, so we`re looking to augment that with private resources and the city of Grand Forks," Kessel said.
City workers in Grand Forks would help review permits to take off some of the load.
"They would get our plans after we did an initial review and then make sure set backs, basic site improvements are there and then they would do the internal reviews of the buildings," Courton said.
Code enforcement workers say they will take any help they can get.
"We`re looking at maybe two months down to three or four weeks, so a significant reduction which would benefit all," Courton said.
The proposal to have Grand Forks help is still pending, but city leaders say the sooner the better.
The city is still searching for another building inspector, but like so many other city jobs, finding employees isn`t easy.