Toledo business owners want more inspectors

By Rob Wiercinski - bio | email

Posted by Lisa Strawbridge - email

TOLEDO (WTOL) - Is the City of Toledo a business-friendly community? One small business owner says no.

"No. Really makes me not want to do business with the City of Toledo again," said Christy Von Sacken.

Von Sacken says her Little Sprouts daycare center opened late in July due to problems dealing with the city's building inspection department. "Our goal was to open in April or May, and it got pushed back and pushed back because it was hard to get responses from them. We couldn't get questions answered."

Those delays resulted in lost customers and money. "You're still paying mortgage and utilities, even when you're not open yet. We had no customers in the door because we were waiting," said Von Sacken.

And the daycare delay impacted the city's bottom line as well. Von Sacken told us, "We had 10 employees waiting to start work. They were going to be paying taxes to the city."

She's not the only one saying layoffs in the building inspection office are affecting customer service. Shaun Murray waited for inspectors to come out to his business. "We like to tout economic development all over Toledo. Come to Toledo to do business -- three weeks for an electrical inspection says we're closed for business."

A proposal before city council calls for raising inspection fees by $5 or $10, depending on the type of permit. However, the raise is only if the mayor rehires three inspection staffers.

It's a plan being backed by Council President Joe McNamara. "If work isn't inspected within a certain period, the city loses its right to inspect that work. So not only is it an economic development issue, it's also a public safety issue," McNamara said.

More help for the inspection department is the only way Von Sacken says she'll do business with the city again. "I want to help the city. I want to be part of the city's growth."

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