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Inspecting frustrating inspection fees in Albion


By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot

Barbara Kinney noticed her porch posts needed replacing at her Crandall Street home in Albion earlier this year, and now she is stuck trying to figure out when the cycle of $65 inspection fees might come to an end.

At Monday’s city council meeting, Kinney and other Albion residents learned a little education can go a long way with their pocketbooks when it comes to building permits.

Kinney said six different contractors said she didn’t need a building permit because she was just doing replacement work, but she purchased one anyway because she said Albion Code Enforcement Officer John Tracy recommended it.

Kinney said the city’s inspector, Glenn Lindsey, came to her house, informed her of a couple of changes that needed to be made to the porch and said it would cost another $65 for him to re-check the work.

“I work two jobs, live paycheck to paycheck and had to borrow money to help with the project,” Kinney said. “So my question to the council is, ‘When does this $65 a pop end?'”

City Manager Michael Herman said his office fields a number of complaints about building permits and he recommends that people have contractors purchase them so they become responsible for meeting code instead of the individual. Then the follow-up inspection costs fall on the contractor.

“If you’re going to contract for work and you’re concerned about the permit cost or whether you need it, come on down and see us and tell the building inspector what you’re going to do and he can tell if you’re going to need one or not,” he said. “Because that’s not the contractor’s decision, it’s the building inspector’s.”

In other business …

Also Monday, the Albion City Council:

• Voted down a resolution to support the Michigan High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Program. A 3-2 vote was not enough to support the program as it progresses and searches for funding. Mayor Joe Domingo, who voted against the resolution, said he can think of better ways to spend Albion’s money than “the possibility of a train going through here at 60 or 70 miles per hour” and Albion “maybe getting some stops along the way.”

• Indicated it is in ongoing discussion about making what City Manager Michael Herman called “quality of life” and “business development” videos for Albion’s public access channel. He asked council to consider spending $9,700 for the production assistance of Q1 Video in Coldwater, and council asked to see more options at the next meeting.
 

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About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.

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