ASTORIA, OR-Clatsop County may take over building code inspection services from the state. The Board of Commissioners this week approved firing off a letter to the state Building Codes Division, indicating its interest in such an endeavor. Officials believe it will improve service for builders and property owners, and maybe even bring the county a few extra dollars.

State employees currently conduct the required code inspections – structural, electrical and plumbing – for new construction in the county. The switch would not include incorporated cities in the county, which must file separate requests. As well, sending the letter does not commit the county to taking on the program. It merely shows interest and the county’s intent to better study the costs (two inspectors, office equipment and vehicles) and revenue (inspection permit fees) associated with the responsibility.

The county can back out if the plan does not pencil out, but officials predict the numbers would show it would be at least a breakeven proposition. For the last fiscal year, the state issued 2,085 permits in Clatsop County and listed total revenue at more than $277,000. The state approached the county last January, after Seaside elected to take on the service, but was declined at that time. The city of Seaside is predicting annual profits in the $30,000 range.

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