City angles to get Youngsville contract back

City angles to get Youngsville contract back

Last month, Youngsville Borough Council approved switching its building code inspections provider from the City of Warren to Construction Code Inspectors, Inc.(CCI), of Franklin.

This month, the city is trying to get that business back.

At borough council’s meeting, Warren officials were on hand to encourage Youngsville to reconsider and find out what prompted the change.

“We were not aware there were any issues with our relationship with the borough,” City Code Official Alan Gustafson said.

On hand with Gustafson were City Code Official Mary Ann Nau and City Manager Nancy Freenock, both of whom were interested in what the city had done to prompt the change.

The borough has contracted with the city for code inspection services since 2007.

Acting Borough Manager Lisa Hagberg pointed to concerns about a lack of monthly reporting on code activities in the borough as a cause for the switch, while council member Eric Mineweaser said CCI had provided a lower fee schedule and cited council’s concerns over inspector certification issues which arose last year.

Following a Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry investigation, Gustafson and fellow code official Greg Garthwaite were sanctioned for commercial inspections conducted in 2011. At the time of the violations, Gustafson was certified in New York State but not Pennsylvania, while Garthwaite’s credentials had lapsed. The city has since resolved the issue.

Nau told council that, while the city did not have access to the fee schedule CCI had presented to Youngsville, it did have access to the fees currently charged in Titusville, which also contracts with CCI. Nau said, when compared to rates in Titusville, the city is less expensive than CCI for all but two inspection types.

Troy McFate of Rightway Builders spoke in support of the city.

McFate said that, as a contractor, he has dealt with inspectors through the city regularly and has a positive working relationship with them. He cited the convenience of being able to discuss any issues with a local agency and said getting local inspectors to a job site was easier than trying to schedule someone to come from out of the county.

“We’re right down the road,” Gustafson said, noting that inspectors are paid on a per inspection basis and will go to more populous areas where they can do multiple inspections first.

Nau brought up the new requirement that municipalities have a Uniform Construction Code Board of Appeals made up of qualified construction professionals following a court case last April. Nau said the city is currently forming a joint board which would satisfy the requirement for all municipalities it serves, while using CCI could leave Youngsville to meet the requirement on its own.

“I think we should, maybe, re-visit this as long as we have time,” council member Robert Olson said.

A final contract with CCI will not be signed until April 19.

Council took no action on the matter Monday.