Building permits up in Ham Lake, boosting building official’s hours

One month after increasing the building official’s hours from 28 to 36 hours per week, the Ham Lake City Council approved a 40-hour work week.

Finance Director Sharon Kutzke previously told the Anoka County Union that the building department from mid-February to mid-April in 2011 completed 90 inspections, issued 59 building permits for $11,425 in revenue to the city and issued one new home building permit that brought $4,156 to the city.

During that same time frame this year, the building department completed 207 inspections, issued 119 permits for $47,895 in revenue to the city and issued 10 home building permits for $31,0065 in revenue.

According to Kutzke, the city has issued far more building permits as of late April this year than it did in all of last year.

The building department’s budget is in the black and the permit fees are covering the increased staff costs, Kutzke said. Permit revenue to date is $100,882.

According to Kutzke, Ham Lake had budgeted $42,900 for the building official position in 2012 when the job had a 28-hour per week cap. There was no benefits package because Building Official Jim Adams would need to be scheduled for at least 30 hours per week.

Including a 40-hour weekly salary and the city’s flexible spending contribution for the health care plan, the 2012 projected budget impact for this position is $63,960. Adams will also start earning paid time off, Kutzke said.

When asked why the building official’s hours were not increased from 28 hours to 40 hours a month ago rather than first try a 36-hour work week, City Administrator Doris Nivala responded, “We further evaluated the workload and realized that it was necessary to increase to a full 40-hour week.”

Ham Lake’s building department does have fewer staff members than four years ago. The council eliminated the two inspector positions within three months of each other in late 2008 and early 2009. Currently, Dawnette Shimek is the zoning official and building department clerk. Sue Phillips is an administrative assistant.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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