CHINOOK — After more than a year of the Chinook city government having no official oversight on building issues, the City Council began talking at its Thursday night meeting about restoring some municipal control.
In April 2011, the council voted to decertify their building inspection.
Council member Heath Richman said at the time that state officials he talked to didn’t know why a city of Chinook’s size needed to be certified or have their own building inspector.
A local contractor, Barry Murnion, told the council then that he thought it was a mistake.
“The state will only come in to inspect in the county or on commercial projects. People will be able to build wherever or whatever they want, ” Murnion said last April. “The standards are going to go way down. ”
The council ended up voting 4 to 1 to decertify.
Council member Jack Conner voted against decertification, just so the council could have a chance to look into some of the unforeseen consequences like those Murnion raised.
This morning City Clerk Lorraine Mulonet said that the concern Murnion expressed and Conner wanted to investigate had not appeared in the city during the year without certification, although there are not too many construction projects in Chinook in a given year, outside of patios and fencing.
Thursday, the council decided to look more into options in between relying on state inspectors who aren’t always around and having a dedicated city building inspector.
The council agreed that the new position, called a building compliance officer, could be good for the city. They just wanted to get a better idea of what it would entail.
Now the city will be contacting other small cities in the state that have followed a similar track into intermediary building authority to come up with their own tailored job description.
Mostly the officer would help people looking to build to find the relevant city ordinances and information so they don’t end up breaking any laws or ending up in court, an expensive and complicated process for city and builders alike.
Mulonet said the description should be ready by the city’s annual budget meeting June 21, so council can be prepared to make their decision about the new position.