In what was a smart budget move,the city of Brainerd recently paid approximately $1,2000 dollars toward early retirement of the rental housing inspector, moving a building inspector into the position. This would keep remaining staff busy as new building in Brainerd has collapsed along with the real estate market, and also save the city considerable money. Sadly, after paying this money, the building inspector who moved positions also quit, leaving a gap in staff. Brained City Council is considering hiring a new building /housing inspector for over $23 per hour plus benefits.
Recently council considered terminating most of our excellent fire dept staff because of budget problems. There was talk of idle firefighters sitting around waiting for fires. However, they were kept on for safety.
Suggestion: Fire dept staff do rental housing inspections. Training is minimal, as rental housing codes detail rules. Carry gear and radios, to always be available for fire emergency. Response times even out as half time staff would be closer to fire. Instead of sitting idle till needed, our excellent fire fighters would be productive, saving $75,000 wages and benefits, needed to hire additional staff, also saving extra office space and automobile expense redundancy.
Fire staff have first hand experience on fire dangers, and would be excellent people for inspections.They are trained in safety and have excellent public relations. In fact, when rental housing inspections were first mandated by the city council, fire dept was to do the inspections. The city needs to cut expenses, and save taxpayers money. Landlords could have reduced fees and pass savings to renters, who often are most needy The fire department gets more job security. Everybody would win. Efficient use of our labor pool is very important in these tough times.
Let your council know how you feel. They decide on Jan. 17.