Building permits are on the upswing according to a quarterly review of the county planning and building department.
“We are looking at a record-breaking year in building permits this year,” said Charlie Ewert, county planning and building department services department director.
So far this year, 27 building permits have been issued, most of them follow up from last year, Ewert said. Already, 36 more building permit applications have been submitted to the department. With those kind of numbers, the department will realize its projected annual revenue by the second quarter of the year.
Ewert said he had as many building permits by March as he had by fall of 2012. He predicts a total of 100 single-family building permits in 2013.
Henry Walker Homes headquartered in Centerville has purchased the Whisper Ridge subdivision in Mountain Green and is “actively pursuing building permits,” Ewert said. “We can only expect this to increase.”
Planning permit revenues are also telling a similar story, he said. In just the first quarter of the year, the department has collected 76 percent of projected planning permit annual revenue. Of $10,000 in budgeted revenue, the department has collected $7,600 in the first quarter alone, a quarter typically knows as one of the year’s slowest.
“It will be a better year than we had last year,” he said.
With such numbers on the horizon, Ewert asked the Morgan County Council to consider moving his secretary from part-time to full-time and hiring a season employee to handle inspections.
“I have a lot on my plate that is not getting done fast enough,” Ewert said.
Councilman Lyle Nelson told Ewert to bring those concerns up at budget time, when they could review the funds available for more personnel. Councilman Robert Kilmer agreed, saying he needed more time to see if the need was long-term.
Council Chairwoman Tina Kelley, however, disagreed, saying she wanted a fullt-time secretary for the department from the beginning.
Ewert warned that if he didn’t get more help in his department to handle the expected influx of work, council members would likely get calls that his department moves too slowly. He reminded them they have received similar phone calls in the past.
“I think it is my responsibility to keep people from calling councilmembers,” he said. “I feel strongly that it is going to happen over the next few months if demand increases.”