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PTC may outsource building department

With building permits down drastically thanks to the economy, Peachtree City officials are considering outsourcing nearly all functions of the building department.

The arrangement would start May 1 under a proposal to be considered by the City Council Thursday night.

The changes would not result in any job losses, as Building Official Tom Carty is due to retire April 30, according to a staff memo provided to the City Council.

Of the other three existing building department employees, the building department staff assistant would be the sole remaining building employee for the city, the memo said. The building inspector would transfer to the development inspector role in the fall upon the current development inspector's retirement.

The existing housing code official would be transferred to a new department, the memo said.

The contract proposed by city staff would be with SAFEbuilt Georgia, Inc., which has provided building and plans inspection services among others for Senoia, Union City, Chattahoochee Hills, Johns Creek Milton, and Tyrone.

SAFEbuilt's services would cost the city 90 percent of the current residential permit fees assessed and 80 percent of its commercial permit fees, the memo said. The remainder would be kept by the city to offset building department costs.



Robert W. Morgan's picture

This is the kind of creative cost saving we need. Permits will be down for years, so this pay as you go type of service for building permits makes a lot of sense.

Live free or die!

This will be one of the things they regret the most when the economy picks back up. No one ever supervises these third party deals and they always blow up.

if we aren't going to lose any employees, and we are hiring an outside firm to handle something we are already handling in house, how are we saving money? Looks on the surface, like this would cost the city more money. Someone help an old Country Boy out.

NUK_1's picture

City doesn't have to pay for health care or retirement of employees it doesn't have any longer. Also, it can be easier/cleaner to get rid of a 3rd party even with a contract than an employee sometimes.

I'm not saying I think this is a great idea or not, but I think the impetus for it is to not have the costs of health insurance + retirement, two items that are always increasing for governments and often not in their hands to control. There is also the philosophical issue of paying the private sector instead of the public sector involved.

Don't agree with Robert Morgan re the permit issue as there will always be a lot of renovations/remodeling on existing homes in PTC and building inspections encompass a lot more than just new housing. I see why council is considering this issue and it's one that needs to be looked at closely. If it's done like they did with grass-cutting/eliminating 23 jobs and actively misrepresenting it as a pure cost-savings instead of a savings+serious service cut, I don't think the citizens will be too pleased this time around after getting burned recently.

Contracting out such things as house inspections, clerical work, payroll; even the police, fire, and above all Sheriffs departments, does save municipalities and others money in the budget.

It's just that shortly after doing so, the bureaucracy headcount will inch up to be the same number of headcount, only they will make more money.

I remember (60s) when computers were sold as a method of completely eliminating paperwork and the people who did the paperwork!!! Shortly, there were more highly paid computer people to GIGO and supervise and train, than before, making more money. And, the paperwork quadrupled! More games can be played however, and GIGO can be output.

Well, instead of say, Peachtree City, providing health care and pensions, maybe a new health plan and European pensions can be installed?

I read the article to say that no one is being let go for this. It does mention someone retiring, but that was going to happen regardless of this change.

Chalk me up as someone confused as to how this saves us money.

That would be Tami Babb, who has served this city so unbelievably well for who knows how long(at least 16 years that I know of). Last year she was taken out of her code enforcement job and given this "housing code official" title.

I credit her with helping to maintain this city to the standard we have been able to keep for so long. She singlehandedly for years (for us oldtimers) was the face of code enforcement. She responded so effortlessly to all calls and has been professional, stern and fair. She knows this city like no one else. Especially, the good the bad and the ugly. She has preserved the good and gone after the bad and the ugly.

So, in less than a year, she will have had 3 job titles. How much do you bet a longtermer like her has taken a pay cut with each of these changes? Think she can see the writing on the wall? Bernie is doing all he can to model corp. America. Yet, he screams that we have no way to cut any more staff. Reassign the longtermers (who are NOT in mgt./admin.) over and over till they finally say, OK, I want out. So, they resign on their own, take the pension/401k's they have accrued for years of hard work, city doesn'have to lay them off and face an age discrimination lawsuit and they will either outsource or hire a newbie at half the salary and no accrued benefits. All the while, Bernie, who has only been here 7 years, and friends (all 24 of them) will maintain their 100k a year salaries and bennies and pretend what they are doing is to save us money. Just like the corp. honchos in finance and elsewhere.

Just keep it up, Bernie and friends. Between the fact that you haven't been able to balance a budget in lean times and are dismantling all that is good about the staff, you must really sleep well at night.

Funny, we have reduced active city staff by double digits for the last year. Doesn't that leave fewer personnel to manage? Doesn't that lessen the workload for the City Manager, also, since his main function is to manage employees? Wouldn't it be fair to exponentially reduce his salary by the same formula? Just thinking out loud.

Do you suppose a contractor used to enforce codes might drive around on a schedule to check code violations such as junk, grass parking, trailers in driveways, etc.? We wait for a call from a neighbor now! Doesn't occur often.

is there anything in the code that addresses a dog that barks ALL NIGHT....I don't just mean for a few hours, but ALL NIGHT. I've tried to be neighborly about it, but that requires good neighbors.

SPQR's picture

As a former chair of an ARB in one of the larger PTC neighborhoods I have had many occasions to interact with Ms Babb. Her dedication and genuine concern for the city's well being never failed to impress me. Mayor Haddix, If she is being "run off" or abused you need to rectify this. If you are interested in a name behind this statement respond to this and I will contact you.

Hoosier Fan's picture

Tammy Babb is a class act and a joy to interact with.

Call the Animal Shelter 770-631-7210. They'll get things quieted down for you.

Don Haddix's picture

First, I worked with Tami Babb as an HOA President. She is not being run off and is a valued employee.

As with Tom Carty she has had her own retirement date in mind for a long time now and I have no intention of seeing her go before that date.

I have said it before and repeat it here, we are understaffed in Code. There is no support I know of for outsourcing Code. Those jobs must be in the hands of employees vested in the future of PTC in my opinion. Even further their work load will increase, not decrease, with time.

As for the Building Inspectors inspections have greatly declined since we are at build out plus the economy. Outsourcing that work stops the roller coaster hiring of additional inspectors one year and eliminating them the next due to lack of work. It provides a stable inspector pool because they cover so many cities. As well it does give a small savings.

I hope that helps clear up some issues and concerns.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

VeronD's picture

I never realized that this could be possible, but then this is timely because I’m planning to minimize spending and using my credit cards this time. I’m pretty sick of paying high credit card interest rates and not all consolidation plans for debt, like credit card <a title="Being careful with credit card debt consolidation" href=" consolidation</a> is created equal – the idea about consolidation is to reduce your payments and pay everything off. The hitch is that if you're paying down high interest credit cards, it makes excellent sense, but low interest debt may end up with a higher interest rate on a consolidation arrangement than just paying it off yourself. The idea is that you must pick your battles, and you also might want to consult a debt management professional ahead of consolidating debt.

doright's picture

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