Fort Mill Times

Tega Cay to add new building board

Living the good life isn't as laid back as it used to be. The city is setting up another layer of bureaucracy with subpoena power while still trying to cut costs.

The city council unanimously approved first reading Monday night of an ordinance to create a Building Codes Appeals Board. Officials said the board is necessary to deal with appeals for variances from the International Building Codes and appeals of building inspection officials' orders and is required by the IBC, which the city adopted in 2006 when it created the Building Inspection Department.

Like the Board of Zoning Appeals, the new board will be made up of between three and nine appointed members. They will serve three-year terms. Unlike other volunteer committees, the members do not serve at the pleasure of the council and cannot be removed without a public hearing. The members will not receive a salary, but their work histories may matter when deciding who is appointed to the board.

"These are highly technical issues this board is going to be dealing with," Councilman John Dervay said prior to the vote. He argued that potential board members with expertise in construction or building trade-related fields like electricians and plumbers should be given preference over applicants without such experience. Applicants need only be at least 18 years old and a city resident to fulfill the requirements to serve on the board.

Also, the council gave more power to court clerk David Ball, appointing him Associate Municipal Judge. Upon completing a week-long course provided by the state, Ball will have the power to conduct bond hearings and issue warrants in the absence of sitting Municipal Judge David Wood.

Wood requested the additional powers for Ball to provide the city with an officer of the court able to handle its most basic functions should he be unavailable.

"When someone is arrested in Tega Cay, they are booked in and then driven to the Fort Mill Police Department," Wood said while arguing his case. "I'll go there the next day for a bond hearing, but if I'm not around that day, the officer has to drive him down to Moss Justice Center in York ... at the very least (the officer) is out of the city for two hours."

"That's two hours he isn't on the streets here."

Fiscal matter

Second reading of an ordinance to borrow $400,000 with a tax anticipation note won unanimous approval Monday as well. The city needs the money to pay its expenses until tax revenue is received in January.

The council also passed first reading of its first 2008-09 budget amendment. City Manager Grant Duffield said working with the Finance Committee, staff identified $171,295 in new revenue and spending cuts. The funds include revised property tax estimates from the York County Assessors Office, rent from Piedmont Medical Center's EMS station, and waiting longer than initially planned to hire a public works employee and two police officers.

The revenue is enough to offset $154,381 in expenses that were left out of the budget, and which factored into the Finance Committee's suggestion two weeks ago that the city borrow $400,000. It also allows the city to put $16,914 into its contingency fund.