Columbia County will enter into an agreement with the state Fire Marshal's Office to allow local inspectors to OK buildings for fire codes. "This is for us to be able to review plans and be able to inspect certain kinds of construction rather than rely (on) the state fire marshal's office to do that inspections," said County Engineer Jim Leiper, who oversees the county inspectors office.
Columbia County officials are bringing county engineering and building inspectors under one department -- a move designed to increase efficiency and inspectors' response time. "We are constantly looking for ways to improve," said Steve Szablewski, county administrator. "There have been some big changes in inspections during the last year: Four long-term employees have retired. We thought now would be a good time to do this." Under the reorganization, both engineering and building inspectors will be under the county's Engineering Department, headed by Jim Leiper.