Building Permits, Inspections Set
CITY COUNCIL REVISES ORDINANCE
LINCOLN — Lincoln City Council last week revised the city’s ordinance for building permits to require permits for alterations or remodeling projects.
The ordinance exempts portable buildings and cosmetic alterations, such as new cabinets, replacing floor and wall coverings or replacing windows of the same size.
The new ordinance, which takes effect in 60 days, changes the covered structures that require a building permit. The current ordinance says permits are required for construction or placement of any building or structure.
The new ordinance, known as the 2017 Remodel Building Permit Amendment, requires permits for projects that include construction, remodel, alter, or for placing a building or structure on land.
Permits also will be required for any roofing repair that is larger than 100 square feet within a 12-month period. In addition, property owners will have to get permits for projects that include modifications involving structural work or work on the framing of the structure.
City business manager Rhonda Hulse said the city’s building inspector recommended the changes so that remodeling and construction projects will have to be inspected for safety reasons.
The Council considered changes to the city’s ordinance for building permits in March 2016, but tabled the proposal for more discussions. Several aldermen at that meeting said it appeared the ordinance would require homeowners to get permits for home improvement projects, such as installing new
carpet and painting jobs.
The ordinance approved last week also sets fees for building permits and inspections for remodeling projects.
For remodels, alterations, re-roofs or structural work that do not expand the existing footprint of a structure, permit fees are based on estimated cost of work and will be $25 for the first $1,000 of work and $4 per additional thousand dollars.
Inspection fees will be $100 for each building system inspection or reinspection. A $100 inspection fee will be required for all remodels, alternations, re-roofs and structural work (except for cosmetic projects).
In other action on Aug. 15, Council members approved the purchase of two vehicles, a new Chevrolet Tahoe for Lincoln Police Department for $40,464 and a new Dodge Ram 2500 regular cab for the Water Department for about $24,000.
Council member Johnny Stowers wondered if the police department could wait and purchase a new Tahoe out of the 2108 budget but Mayor Rob Hulse said the city is spending money on repairing police vehicles.
The last repair bill was $3,100, Hulse said.
“We’ve been putting it off and we are throwing good money after bad,” Hulse said, adding, “We have some vehicles that are wore out.”
Brian Key, assistant police chief, told Council members officers have been having problems with their vehicles and there are times they have to switch vehicles out.
The new Tahoe will be purchased under the state purchasing contract. The price includes everything, except the radio and striping package.
The Council tabled an ordinance to amend the city’s procurement policy. The changes would allow the mayor to seek informal bids, instead of sealed, competitive bids, for items that cost $20,000 to $75,000. The ordinance requires Council approval before an item can be purchased.
The city’s present policy allows the mayor to purchase any item up to $20,000 and to seek sealed, competitive bids for any item over $20,000.
A new state procurement law, which went into effect July 31, allows an informal bid process for the $20,000$75,000 range.
Stowers agreed with the ordinance but said he believed the state procurement law only applies to state agencies, not to municipalities. He questioned the legality of Lincoln’s proposal.
City Attorney Steven Parker said Stowers was correct in that the law applied to state agencies but when taking it in context with other laws, Parker said he believed the city could use an informal, competitive bid process.
The Council tabled the ordinance to allow Parker to investigate it further and talk to the Arkansas Municipal League.
Parker said he suggested the change because of a recent paving project initiated by the city.
“We should have been able to pick up the phone and call some companies (for informal bids),” Parker said. “That’s what prompted us to look at this and simplify it.”
Hulse noted an informal, competitive bid process would allow the city to seek bids by phone or other ways but not compromise the city’s ability to select the best bid for a project or jeopardize the Council’s integrity.
The Council placed another ordinance on first reading that authorizes the city to conduct business with aldermen Doug Hutchins, Doug Moore and Robin Moore. The ordinance notes that at times the companies owned or operated by the Council members provide essential services or products to the city.
Hutchins is a principal in the firm R&R Truck and Trailer. Doug Moore is a principal in Moore Sales Company and his wife, Robin, has an interest in the profits of the company.
The Council did not have a quorum to approve the ordinance in three readings at the meeting. Hutchins and the Moores could not vote because of a conflict of interest and Council member Bobby McDonald was absent.