DEL NORTE- The Rio Grande County Commissioners met for their end of month meeting on September 25 to discuss some changes that will be occurring in the next year in how plumbing inspections will be conducted.
The board welcomed building inspector Randy Kern to hear about changes that were happening on a state level that would require the county to alter how they do plumbing inspections in the area. Kern stated that those changes would require them to have a certified plumbing license and to have that license verified by state officials in order to continue inspections through the county.
“This is really going to make my job that much harder. Doing plumbing inspections does not generate enough revenue for the county to justify us having to change how we do things. The changes that they are trying to pass through the state legislature does not apply to ‘do it yourself’ projects for homeowners that complete their own plumbing. We have two state inspectors in the area, and they handle a majority of the services outside of the county right now anyway. I am asking for permission to submit a letter of intent to the state plumbing board and to notify the public that we will no longer be doing plumbing inspections,” said Kern.
Commissioners agreed with Kern stating that they understood how difficult it was for him to have to fit plumbing inspections into his already packed schedule. Commissioner John Noffsker asked Kern if he knew how much the plumbing inspections generated for the county and Kern responded that it was in the ballpark of about $15,000 a year. “It definitely will never be a standalone program. If I were to ever have to leave or god forbid get sick, there is no one that can cover for me because I am the only one who is licensed to do the inspections,” said Kern.
Kern explained that it was only a matter of time before the state plumbing board would be passing the new regulations and that now was the perfect time to get out on their own terms. “I am looking to protect the county and now is the time for us to get out on our own terms before they eventually just eliminate us through regulations anyway.”
“Even after we submit the letter of intent there will be paperwork to fill out and wait for approval on, then we will have to finish out all of the inspections that are scheduled and any that will be scheduled in between. We will still have about a year, to a year and a half, before we can be completely done. I just want to be able to start telling people now, so that when the time comes, they are prepared to contact one of the other inspectors,” said Kern.
Commissioners gave Kern permission to begin contacting some of their regular clients, like the city of Monte Vista and South Fork as well as permission to write the letter of intent and send it to the state plumbing board.