Purdy aldermen authorize more building inspections
Fines, penalties for safety issues to be developed at later date
The Purdy City Council adopted a new job description for its building inspector that calls for increased activity in the business and commercial sector.
Russ Nichols, the police officer who serves as the building inspector, presented aldermen with a composite of duties extracted from building inspector job descriptions from Victorville, Calif., and Murray City, Utah. Both of those cities had more complex systems with planning and zoning regulations.
“We’re not trying to venture into planning and zoning,” said Mayor Bo Prock. “This focuses on some things we’d like to see, like if a new building is going up, we’d like to know it’s a safe structure.”
Prock added annual safety inspections of commercial and business buildings, as well as public structures like schools and churches, to the duties presently done. The ordinance does not include enforcement measures. Prock said adding fines and penalties would be a second step.
Alderman Scott Redshaw, who works for the Joplin fire department, provided a checklist of potential issues for the inspector to review. Redshaw noted that the fire marshal does the initial inspection in Joplin, and firefighters follow with a less detailed review, looking at entrance and exit accessibility, the presence of a fire exit and fire hazards.
Aldermen agreed to tailor the checklist for use in Purdy at a later date. When new job descriptions were introduced in May, Prock suggested police offer business operators a nightly check on their establishments as a public relations effort. Police Chief Jackie Lowe tallied approximately 25 businesses, including churches and daycares, to stop at as part of the nightly police rounds.
Nichols warned aldermen that five years ago when the city first appointed him as building inspector, his visits prompted numerous calls of complaint from proprietors who had never been previously inspected. Aldermen had asked him to stop inspections. Nichols said he had no problem resuming the work. He needed to work out details with Prock over when to inspect businesses, since Nichols usually works the night shift.