By RUSSELL HUFFMAN
STEPHENVILLE (October 21, 2015) — It appears as though County Wide Inspections’ contract with the city of Stephenville is coming to an end in just three months as the city explores the use of an outside source for building inspections and plan reviews.
According to reports, County Wide wanted to hold Stephenville builders and contractors to a “strict scheduling policy” and the move didn’t fit the mold cast by the city council in recent meetings.
A contract with County Wide was a hard sell to some council members who expressed worries over being able to terminate the contract, but mainly questions on whether the city would get suitable and swift service. The company’s $10,000 a month cost was another area of concern.
The company’s inspection and plan review abilities appear to be considerable, but the inability to quickly provide unscheduled inspections led to City Administrator Pat Bridges seeking a city inspector to fill-in the gaps.
The decision to hire a city inspector has created a disagreement with County Wide, and the company’s representative, Jason Cottongame, has exercised the 30-day termination clause in the contract. However, while both sides say there is a disagreement, it appears to be a cordial one, and Bridges stressed he would certainly be willing to use County Wide in the future should the need arise.
Cottongame did offer assurances to Bridges that County Wide would keep offering inspection services until a suitable person is in place to conduct them for the city. Bridges is reported to already have a “solid prospect” for a building inspector position. The candidate’s credentials include eight years of service as a building official in a city the same size as Stephenville.
The city of Stephenville is in the process of rebuilding its planning and building services department after the last remaining building inspector resigned two weeks ago. In the past, Stephenville has employed at least two inspectors and it appears plans are underway to advertise a second position in the near future.