City council pushes to raise inspection fees

By Rob Wiercinski -
Posted by Nick Dutton -

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Council members say if the city of Toledo claims to be business friendly, they should remove the logjam of inspections for construction and remodeling work. Tuesday, a council committee examined whether to raise inspection fees.

Local contractors complained about budget cuts to Toledo's Building Inspection Department and said they hit them directly in the pocketbook.

"As a home builder, if I have to sit out there and wait 2 weeks, it costs me money. I pay interest every month and I can't afford that type of fee," says Home Builders Assn.'s Dan Bollin.

Todd Michaelsen, of the National Electrical Contractors Assn., says Toledo always had good inspections, but he's had the issue of supporting them with manpower and funds.

Ten city inspection staffers were let go this year, which resulted in a 2-week wait period for electrical inspections and 3 weeks for a building inspection.

Council President Joe McNamara's proposal calls for raising inspection fees by $5 or $10, but only if the city rehires an electrical inspector, a building inspector and a permit technician.

"It gives the administration, in my judgment, the funds to bring people back from (the) building inspection department. Quite frankly, from what I'm hearing, the layoffs in building inspection went too far," says McNamara.

Most attending the council committee hearing seemed to reluctantly back the plan.

The major question is if the mayor will support council's plan, McNamara says.

McNamara says the mayor has been all over the board on issues. "One minute he's for, one minute he's against."

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