|The Knox County Board will vote a month from now on the establishment of a building code. And while it won't necessarily be the same one that's been discussed in the past, some county board members think it won't be any better.
The County Board voted nine-to-five Wednesday night to put the building code on display in the County Clerk's office for public inspection before the final vote March 24th. While it primarily follows the international and other building-related codes, the main changes since the first time the ordinance was brought up take out references to permits needed for any remodeling, and only limiting it to new construction.
That still doesn't sit well with District-Two Republican, Doctor Bill Abel.
"You can change a light bulb in your house without inspection," Abel said, reading from prepared remarks. "However, let's say you have that light fixture or change a wire in a house to accommodate a light fixture. That would be a new construction. So it would require a permit or inspection. When the public thinks of new construction, they think of building a building or addition from scratch -- not what I mentioned above."
District-One Republican Allen Pickrel said he's never heard about so much public opposition to something like this before. "I think this is ludicrous to be moving forward with this whole building code, when we could take this out, and we could take that out," Pickrel said. "But we're basically passing a whole code minus a new construction and this-that...I have books. If there's something in that book and (a worker) is doing it wrong, I'm calling and he needs to get arrested. Otherwise, I'm suing this county."
Pickrel also suggested the building codes would lead to an eventual open burning ban, which County Board Chair Greg Bacon said in a prepared release Thursday morning that isn't the county's intention."
Pickrel did say he has received some support for the building codes, but wouldn't mention them, calling them "people who I expected."
District-One Democrat and County Board Chair Greg Bacon says as far as he sees it, the code is what other county officials what.
"We went to a few committees, township supervisors, and they made some comments about it," Bacon said. "What we did, is we we went through, and as you can see...we removed everything that...pertains to maintenance -- maintenance or alterations, repairs, all of that stuff is removed from it."
Concern was also raised about the need to potentially hire separate building, electrical, and plumbing inspectors if the code is passed.
Agricultural properties would be exempt under state law, but members even thought that would end up costing the county and its taxpayers somehow.
The Knox County Board Wednesday night ratified a union contract with courthouse employees, that officials say is a four-year deal, with raises of 3% the first year, 4% the second year, and 2.5% the last two years.
The Knox County Board Wednesday night also approved increasing the fees charged for sheriffs deputies who serve process papers. Members also okayed a $47,000 bid for a service contract on a new compactor at the Knox County Landfill.