County questions state mandate for local building inspector

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By Dave Taylor

Trimble County Attorney Perry Arnold is preparing for the members of Trimble County Fiscal Court a summation of state building inspection statutes.

The assistant director of the state Division of Building Codes Enforcement has sent letters to numerous county government leaders,

including Trimble County Judge-Executive Randy Stevens, an interpretation by

the Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction with regard to local building inspectors.

“The state by statute is responsible for inspecting and permitting all commercial buildings in Kentucky,” Stevens said following last week’s meeting of fiscal court. “The commercial issue is a state obligation, a state responsibility, state-funded and executed. We’re fine with that and they do a good job of it. Their interpretation of the law says that we shall contract and employ a local building inspector. That’s a big difference than the way we’ve interpreted and applied the law.”

Stevens said the county has approved a jurisdictional electrical inspector and that currently plumbing and septic systems are also inspected on residential construction.

Stevens said he is aware of many residents’ concerns about wanting to limit government control over so many aspects of a property owner’s personal entitlements.

“Small government is a good thing,” he said. “You’re allowed if you buy your piece of property and you paid for it and paid the taxes on it you’re allowed to do what you want with it as long as it’s not endangering the health, safety and welfare of the community.”

Stevens said implementing a local building inspection operation would add to the cost of all new residential construction and be an added financial burden to property owners. Not only would permits be required for residential housing but for the construction of barns and other outbuildings constructed by Trimble residents. It would also be an additional

budgetary burden for the county to bear.

“Building permits alone would not pay the salary of an inspector,” Stevens said. “Not in this county and not in this economic

environment. It’s another tax burden on an otherwise depleted budget.”