Archive for Thursday, May 7, 2009

Council approves ordinance to control quality

May 7, 2009

Contractors are going to have to prove they’re qualified to do work in Basehor.

At Monday night’s Basehor City Council meeting, members voted, 3-2, to adopt an ordinance requiring contractor licensing within the city. Council members David Breuer and Iris Dysart were opposed to the ordinance, which will take effect July 1.

Basehor building inspector Mark Lee proposed implementation of the ordinance after Johnson County adopted a similar ordinance to control the quality of its plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning and building and residential contractors. Johnson County also organized a licensing and training program, which it has allowed outside agencies to use.

“I think this will be valuable for a number of reasons,” Lee said. “It will ensure that we have qualified contractors in our city, and the training will be helpful to everyone. I didn’t need the training, and I’ve learned a lot from attending (Johnson County’s) seminars.”

Contractor applicants can be licensed by obtaining a certificate of competency from a nationally-recognized testing institution, by providing verification that a person or firm’s designated representative has the required number of years of full-time experience in the construction industry for that license, or by holding a bachelor’s degree in engineering, architecture or construction science from an accredited college. Provisional license holders may obtain a regular license upon completion of no less than 32 hours of codes-related education before the provisional license expires.

Contractors licensed under the resolution must complete at least eight hours of continuing education each year that is directly related to Johnson County’s construction codes. This license and renewal process costs contractors about $300 the first year of licensing and about $200 each additional year for continuing education.

Breuer said he was not in favor of the ordinance because he felt it was another unnecessary hoop for contractors.

“As a contractor myself, I know there’s always something new you have to do to get a license,” Breuer said. “Then it takes about six weeks to get the license. When does it end? If we have bad contractors here, we need to address that.”

The license requirement, Lee said, is not to prevent any certain contractors from working in Basehor.

“This is not a situation of us having bad contractors,” Lee said. “This is a way for us to always ensure that we have knowledgeable, trained professionals on the job. This is a way to make sure we have the right people working here.”

With contractors paying to take courses and obtain a license, Dysart said she was concerned the fees would fall back into homeowners’ hands.

“I don’t want to see something like this come back to homeowners,” Dysart said. “Contractors could charge more because of these seminars, and I see some people walking away and saying they won’t do it.”

Lee said it was important to give homeowners some assurance they have the best contractors working in their houses.

“These are necessary, possible life-saving things for your home – plumbing, heating, air conditioning,” Lee said. “Don’t you want people to know they have quality workers fixing or installing these?”

In other action Monday night, the council:

• Approved, 5-0, a proclamation declaring May 10-16 National Police Week and May 15 as Peace Officer’s Memorial Day.

• Discussed the 2008 audit report by Lowenthal, Singleton, Webb and Wilson.

• Approved, 5-0, the reappointments of city clerk Mary Mogle, city attorney Patrick Reavey, Basehor Police Department Chief Lloyd Martley, all full-time police officers, judge William Pray, city engineer Joe McAfee, treasurer Susan Adams, court clerk Traci Dockery and public defender Jeff Sonntag.

• Approved, 5-0, pay request No. 6 from CAS Construction for the wastewater treatment plant in the amount of $355,944.42.

• Approved, 5-0, a notice of award to Larking Excavating, Inc. of Lansing for the 150th Street project from Craig Road to Parallel Road in the amount of $665,264.50 and authorization of a notice to proceed after the required bonds are obtained.

• Tabled, 5-0, consideration of recommendations from the Basehor Planning Commission to adopt an ordinance amending Article 1 of Chapter XVI of the Basehor Municipal Code, incorporating revised zoning regulations.

• Tabled, 5-0, consideration of recommendations by the planning commission to adopt an ordinance amending Article 2 of Chapter XVI of the Basehor Municipal Code, incorporating revised subdivision regulations.

• Approved, 5-0, a payment of $818 to MARC for annual dues.

• Tabled, 5-0, adoption of annual updates to the Uniform Public Offense Code and Standard Traffic Ordinance.

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