Niagara Gazette

Local News

May 20, 2013

Fire inspector job debated in the Town of Niagara

Niagara Gazette — TOWN OF NIAGARA — Town board members are considering hiring a part-time fire inspector under a plan some of them say is needed to keep up on inspections.

Board members discussed the new position — which would be contracted work, not requiring the town to provide benefits — during a council work session Thursday evening.

Town Supervisor Steve Richards said the new position is necessary because the building inspections department, which is responsible for fire inspections, has not been able to perform enough of them.

“At the end of the day, inspections have to be done and they’re not being done,” Richards said.

The building inspections department’s man hours were drastically reduced at the beginning of the year, with three full-time employees being slashed to one full-time clerk and a part-time inspector working 18 hours a week.

Richards said even last year, with three employees, the department was not accomplishing as much as it should have.

Councilman Dan Sklarski said the inspections department did 237 fire inspections in 2012, keeping up with the average pace, but 132 of them were done in the Sabre Park mobile home community, where many of the homes have been condemned or demolished in anticipation of the Fashion Outlets of Niagara expansion.

Inspectors also conducted 73 inspections as part of scheduled building inspections and 32 random inspections.

Sklarski said the building inspectors were not performing enough random inspections.

“There’s no excuse by the building inspections department when it’s a safety issue,” he said. “It has to get done.”

And by contracting out the work the town will make money, according to Richards and Sklarski. The inspection fees will bring in more money than the contract will pay out, Richards said.

“He can bring revenue into the town,” Richards said.

The town has interviewed four candidates for the position, but final contracts have not been drawn up, officials said.

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