Happy April, people! If you’re reading this cute little ‘news’ letter, it means you have survived the foul and nefarious Corona Virus #19 along with everything it and our government has thrown at you for the past year and you are already knee-deep into 2021. Well, congratulations! I think that right there is reason for celebration, don’t you? Life is always better if you live grateful, isn’t it?
One of my goals in taking on this position way back in 2016 was to use whatever skills or influence I might have to help my neighbors improve their lots in life however I could. One of the ways I’ve been successful is in a total revamp of our permitting process (which is ongoing still), another is in the development of a cadre of the finest building inspectors I’ve ever worked with. It also helps that I’ve been able to bail the taxpayers of the Township out of subsidizing the permit process while significantly reducing the cost of – and time to – complete building permits. I’m kind of proud of that.
So we’re going to talk about permits first.
As of 3/31/21 ALL of our permits have been reworked and they are on our website, here: Permit Page. They are all fillable PDF’s, which means you can call up the permits you need, fill them out by typing in the information requested online (which really helps if your handwriting is a abominable as mine) then printing them off, signing them and bringing them in to the office with your check.
Don’t know what permits you need? No problemo, Kimosabe! I got you hooked up there too! On that same page, click on the Construction Permit & Fee Guide, look up the type of work you are doing and all of the necessary permits are listed, as well as the costs. Then just fill them out, add them up and cut us a check. And oh, yes…we are working on getting a credit card processing system in place as we speak. I’ll keep you posted on our progress.
Even more importantly for the Township, as soon as I stepped into this position I saw that no one had ever tracked the permits we’d issued to make sure the work had been completed and inspected. We had always operated on a kind of honor system where you just buy the permit, have the work done and get it inspected if you thought of it. Needless to say, we had a lot of incomplete permits floating around. A lot. So I engaged a remarkably intelligent and talented young lady (Cassandra Rene) who volunteered to create a spreadsheet that tracked the progress of each of our permits and alerted me to those that were incomplete 30 days before they expired. That way I can contact the homeowner and let them know they’re about to expire and as a result, we only have 1 (one!) permit outstanding for the last 5 years. One!
Finally, for the last 5 years I’ve been trying to develop a one-page document that will cover every application for every building permit where you only have to type in the basic information once and check a few boxes to get what you need. I have a very specific set of parameters I need the document to meet and apparently, it isn’t as easy as it looks. But have faith; I have some time left….
On to the Inspectors We Go!
I have always been very impressed with our inspectors – with minor exception. For the past 4+ years I have been well and truly spoiled to work with the likes of Joe Smith & Harry Thomas who are competent, knowledgeable and helpful almost to a fault. They’ve also been accessible and responsive. Compared to the folks I had to deal with when I lived in Detroit, they are miracles in the flesh. The only issue I had in this office was the fact that our residents needed to go to the State of Michigan for their plumbing permits, which was laborious, slow, inconvenient and horrifically expensive. You’ll be happy to know that’s been fixed. It took almost 2 years to do it, but it’s been fixed. With the help of our most capable Clerk, Sheryll Dishaw, I petitioned the State to allow us to administer our own plumbing program and they consented in 2019. So we hired Tim Basore, as our plumbing inspector and we’ve never looked back.
It’s true that they say “All good things must come to an end.” We saw that when Bob Jacokes retired, and again now that Sheryll Dishaw has resigned her position as our Assessor and most recently now that Joe Smith decided to retire from his role as our Building Inspector. If we are to be responsible then, we must constantly be on the lookout for upcoming changes and do our best to prepare for them. You may be happy to know – we have!
As this little blurb is being typed, we have developed a cadre of consistently excellent Building Inspectors to cover just about every need for which the Township is responsible. They have been thoroughly vetted and come to us highly recommended some, like Harry Thomas, have worked with us for many years and have proven themselves time and again. I have the absolute highest confidence in them. Let me introduce them to you:
Building Inspections: Phil Beemer 517-513-7330
Electrical Inspections: Harry Thomas 517-542-3543
Mechanical Inspections: Tim Basore 517-623-6257
Plumbing Inspections: Tim Basore 517-623-6257
You will also find their personal contact information on each and every permit form for your convenience. If you have a question on your construction project it is a good idea to call them first, a minute on the phone can save you a lot of time, frustration and money!
’till next time!