County delays providing Climax building inspections

Published 10:08 am Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners recently voted to delay immediately beginning building inspections in the city of Climax.

During the Tuesday, April 29, board meeting, commissioners debated whether the county should sign an agreement to assist the city of Climax with enforcement of state building codes, including issuance of building permits and other permits required by state law. The county’s planning department, led by County Building Official Craig Smith, would enforce the codes.

The codes are the same as those used in the rest of the county, including the cities of Brinson and Attapulgus. Because Climax is not currently enforcing these codes, Climax citizens would not be eligible for certain federal and state natural disaster assistance funding.

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The Climax City Council signed the agreement during a called council meeting on Thursday, April 18, but the county voted not to immediately sign, and instead to table it for a future meeting.

The county voted to table signing the agreement for two reasons. First, commissioners want Smith to work with Climax Mayor Charles Hadsock and Climax Policeman John Presilla to work out a dispute between a Climax citizen, Grace Cooper, who wishes to open a business in Climax but has refused to allow Presilla on the property to inspect it.

Secondly, commissioners want to give Climax citizens time to provide feedback on whether they wish for the codes to be enforced.

County Commissioner Dr. David C. “Butch” Mosely, who lives in Climax, said he had received a few calls and they were all opposed to the agreement.

If the agreement is signed, the state benefits to Climax citizens include:

• Full Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster coverage and assistance.

• Increased ability to obtain full range of state and federal grants.

• Improved fire rating, resulting in lower insurance premiums.

• Reduction in GIRMA insurance premiums for the city of Climax.

Also, code enforcement or inspection will not apply to existing residential building or commercial building with approved city of Climax building license, unless unsafe conditions exist that render the structures unsafe for occupancy or use by state or local codes or ordinances.

The code enforcements will primarily be for new construction or major renovations. Necessary repairs or maintenance of household appliances, air conditioning system, and so forth, will not require a permit. Citizens will be required to use certified or registered contractors as required by the eight state of Georgia minimum codes.

Climax Correspondent Jean Ouzts contributed to this story.