Police jury to consider building permit changes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 9, 2004

VIDALIA &045; The process for receiving a building permit in Concordia Parish would change slightly under a proposal from police jurors.

Currently, the parish ordinance on the subject calls for Concordia officials to rely on the homebuilder’s honesty in estimating how much a particular project costs.

To make for a uniform process, though, jurors would require a written cost estimate, said Police Juror Cathy Darden, who with other parish officials has been researching the issue.

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Police jurors discussed the proposal at their Monday night meeting but would set a public hearing before voting to approve any changes.

&uot;What the customer pays (for a building permit) is based on the actual cost of building the home,&uot; Darden said. &uot;All we have to go on right now is what they tell us.&uot;

Police jury Secretary Russell Wagoner said he called several surrounding parishes to find out their policies.

&uot;We want to make the playing field fair for everyone,&uot; he said.

Darden gave this example: If someone turns in a building permit application with the square footage and cost estimate listed, police jury staff could then research the average cost per square foot to make sure the estimate is valid.

&uot;This really isn’t an extra burden to the homeowner,&uot; Darden said. &uot;Nobody’s going to go out and build a house without knowing how much it costs.&uot;

In other business Monday night, police jurors held a public hearing about the lease of a building on U.S. 84 near Airport Road to house work release inmates.

Sheriff Randy Maxwell said the inmates are of the highest class, which means they have the best security clearance.

&uot;What we’re trying to do is rehabilitate them so when they do get out they don’t come back,&uot; Maxwell said.

Work release inmates work in about 15 businesses in the area, doing such jobs as welding and driving tractors, Maxwell said.

&uot;They’re screened very carefully and they’re supervised,&uot; he said.

Maxwell encouraged police jurors to tell people who have questions about the program to call him at the sheriff’s office.