By Chris Wilcox
Tribune-Courier News Reporter
The Marshall County Fiscal Court last week began a process they hope will create an inter-local agreement regarding building inspection laws in the county.
The county needs to hire a new building inspector as the result of a change in state statute, which shifted the responsibility of single-family dwelling inspection from the state to county governments – a measure proposed two years ago by State Representative Larry Clark, of Louisville.
Marshall County Judge Executive Mike Miller said the effort has been a complicated process that the fiscal court and other counties have been struggling with for the better part of a year.
“Under the new law single-family dwellings will have to be inspected for not only electrical compliance, but for the foundation and structural components as well,” he said.
The county’s current electric and building inspector Larry “Cat” Spears will begin training a new inspector once a countywide contract can be entered into.
Spears is qualified to perform the new state-mandated inspections, but Miller said Spears’ responsibility leans toward commercial and business inspections and his specialty with single-family dwellings is with the electrical component.
Miller said it would be more appropriate to hire another individual that could handle the foundation and structural component of the inspections.
“Mr. Spears is willing to work with whoever we hire to get the required certifications – they would work under him until that time – he would have to sign off on the inspections though because there just aren’t people certified out there like there used to be,” Miller said.
Miller told the fiscal court the city of Benton would like to be part of the process, but he has yet to speak with representatives from Calvert City or Hardin to see if they would as well.
“It would be good if we could have one countywide inspector to do this chore – (County Attorney) Jeff Edwards and (Benton City Attorney) Marty Johnson will get together to draw up some sort of inter-local agreement that we might deal with before we hire an individual,” he said.
In another building matter, Miller discussed the appraisal of the Calvert Clinic, which is co-owned by the county, Marshall County Health Department and Marshall County Hospital.
According to Miller, Sloan Appraisal & Realty Services, of Paducah, placed the value of the Calvert Clinic at $150,000. Currently Dr. Charles Waller is renting the clinic, located at 503 E. 5th Street, but two of the clinic’s co-owners – the hospital and the health department – have shown interest in divesting themselves of the property.
Miller said the fiscal court is still weighing its options.
“We originally put a satellite health department over there, but it didn’t get the clients to justify keeping it open. The hospital was hoping it would get a doctor that would refer to the hospital, but that hasn’t worked out either,” he said. “My concern and I think the concern of Commissioner Misti Drew is that if we sell it – will that leave Calvert City without any medical services?”
Miller said Dr. Waller only practices there a few days per month, but his staff is there regularly, which provides the north side of the county medical coverage.
“We haven’t gotten serious about these discussions yet – I was hoping the city of Calvert might want to buy it and the mayor indicated he would consider that, but he hasn’t made a commitment – Mayor Lynn Jones is concerned about leaving Calvert City without medical coverage too,” Miller said.
Miller said the fiscal court doesn’t have a need for the building, but would continue discussions with the other co-owners about the options regarding the Calvert Clinic.
Another item on the fiscal court’s agenda included approving $2,200 worth of equipment for the Hardin Community Center.
The money will go toward purchasing eight tables, two table-storage carts and 80 steel folding chairs.