Building inspections to start in April

By Emily Jarrett

December 5, 2013

Inspections to downtown buildings could begin as early as April, after the Sedalia City Council approved a new ordinance Monday.

During its meeting Thursday, the Citizens for a Clean Sedalia Committee heard more details about the roll out of the ordinance, which will require 221 commercial and mixed-use buildings from Moniteau to Massachusetts avenues and Broadway Boulevard to the railroad tracks, to undergo a thorough inspection to all roofs, guttering, masonry, openings and foundations by April 2016.

Community Development Director John Simmons said he and Chief Building Official Andy Burt were working on drafting a request for proposal to hire a structural engineer to conduct the inspections. The engineer must be certified by the state and have experience with historical buildings, Simmons added.

“We should have that sent out by the end of this month, and council will have to approve a contract with the engineer in time for them to start work April 1, which is our new fiscal year start date,” he said.

Council will also be asked to approve a budget for the project, currently estimated to be around $120,000 spread out over two years. While it has a hefty price tag, City Administrator Gary Edwards and Simmons both said the inspections should reduce the number of demolitions needed, thereby reducing the demolition budget considerably.

“This year we had $150,000 budgeted for demolition, last year it was $200,000, so even with $120,000 for the inspections, we’re still quite a bit under,” Edwards said.

“These inspections should be able to put us out in front of a potential problem so a building won’t get to the point where it has to be demolished,” Simmons added. “We’re spending money upfront to save on the back end.”

During the meeting, committee members thanked city staff for the work put into drafting the ordinance and seeing it passed by council.

“I think you all did a great job taking our suggestions and marrying our ideas,” said Committee Chair Mary Merritt. “I know there are things that are going to pop up, questions that will be asked, but we’ve come a long way from when we started these talks almost two years ago.”

The Citizens for a Clean Sedalia Committee will next meet in late January.