Create In-House Building Inspector Position - YES
Ask any resident who's recently done a remodel or construction project, and you're likely to hear that as wonderful as the Town of Corte Madera may be, Planning and Building is the one department where we've consistently struggled to hit our customer service goals.
We're now in the midst of a multi-year process of overhauling the department, introducing both personnel and policy changes to make it easier for residents to get their projects done.
Part of this process has involved re-assessing which services we outsource to third party consultants, and which services to provide in-house. Both have their pros and cons: when used correctly, consultants can lower costs for taxpayers. But when leaned on too heavily, consultants can deliver worse service at a higher price than an in-house position would.
After careful consideration, we decided that bringing building inspection and plan-checking services back in-house would allow us to provide higher quality services to our residents at the same or lower cost than we spend on those services now, using an outside consultant.
That's why I voted to create such a position in the Planning and Building Department, freeing us of the costly consultants that have provided endless headaches to residents and staff alike. No longer will residents find themselves caught in endless feedback loops with disinterested plan checkers that have no familiarity with or investment in Corte Madera's community. Once this position is filled, inspections and plan checks will be performed by a Corte Madera staffer with intimate knowledge of both the Town's policies and character. Critically, they will also be accountable to the Town's leadership and residents.
Filling this position will cost the Town an estimated $149,000 per year. That cost is fully-loaded, including salary, benefits, and retirement. For perspective, last year alone, we spent $258,000 on third party building inspections and $169,000 on third party plan check services, making the financial benefit of this move self-evident.
I will very much be looking forward to providing higher-quality service to residents in-house at a lower cost, and I hope we can fill the position quickly!