County home construction enjoys best year since ’08

New homes are popping up all over Monroe County.

After being unable to fill its vacant building inspector position, Monroe County has decided to outsource the job to a private company.

Monroe County commissioners unanimously hired Charles Abbott Associates on Nov. 5 to do building inspections and plan reviews for the Monroe County Building Department.

Charles Abbott Associates will begin its work for the county on Jan. 1, 2021. CAA is based in Mission Viejo, Calif. but has offices all over the U.S., including in Atlanta.

County Manager Jim Hedges recommended the move saying that since the August departure of former chief building inspector Daniel Brown, Monroe County has not had a certified and licensed building inspector to run the department. Hedges said the county has sought to replace Brown, who took over the building department in Covington, for the past eight weeks but has been unable to identify a viable replacement.

Hedges said numerous nearby governments, including Butts County, Spalding County, the City of Griffin, the City of Jackson and the City of Thomaston, already contract with CAA for building inspection services and highly recommend the firm’s work.

CAA will coordinate all residential, commercial and industrial building inspections, inspect for code compliance for accessibility, grading, building, electrical, mechanical and plumbing, notify the county of code enforcement violations and assist with construction and demolition permitting processes. In addition, CAA will do emergency inspections as directed by the county, provide inspection reports, provide detailed weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual reports of CAA’s activities and provide additional services as requested.

Monroe County Building Department administrative assistant Emily Parks will continue to do the same job duties, including all permitting as well as coordination of inspections. Meanwhile, assistant building inspector Mark Goolsby will transfer to code enforcement, where he will address any code enforcement violations identified by CAA.

Hedges said upon adoption of a recommended fee schedule, revenues from inspection services will be split 60% for CAA and 40% for Monroe County. Based on projected 2021 revenue, the split would be: $126,000 for CAA and $84,000 for Monroe County, which would be used to cover the cost of the two remaining county employees.

CAA Regional Director Tim Inglis said any inspection request made prior to 4 p.m. on a business day would be done the following business day.

Hedges said the contract with CAA is for one year, and Inglis said Monroe County can terminate the deal within the next year as long as it provides 30-day notice.

County public information officer Richard Dumas contributed to this story.