By Jeff Gallatin
Noting SAFEbuilt has built a strong foundation for Bay Village and itself since taking over the city’s building department in 2013, municipal officials are planning to extend the private firm’s contract for two years.
City Council introduced legislation at Monday’s meeting exercising a clause in the original contract that gives city officials the option to extend the original three-year agreement by two years.
Mayor Debbie Sutherland, whose administration privatized the city’s building department, said the two-year contract extension is merited.
“It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made as mayor,” she said. “It has streamlined operations for the city in times when we’ve had many budget issues because of state funding cuts to cities and tight economies.
“The staff is professional in how they handle the different functions. I’ve had compliments from the school district, which had major capital projects going on the last few years. I’ve heard from businesses and other people in the city about how well SAFEbuilt has performed, so seeking the extension is a logical move.”
Sutherland noted that other communities, such as Olmsted Falls, Berea, Sheffield Lake and starting May 1 – Olmsted Township – have also hired SAFEbuilt to handle building department functions.
“Other cities also like what they do,” she said.
Sutherland said it also benefits Bay Village having SAFEbuilt keep its Northeast Ohio headquarters in Bay Village City Hall.
‘We get the benefits of having the workers based here,” she said.
Finance Director Renee Mahoney said the decision has paid off for Bay Village.
“SAFEbuilt started with the city on May 1. 2013,” she said. “In 2012, the year prior to the change, the Building Department had expenses over revenues of over $184,000. In the first year of operation (under Safebuilt), that loss was reduced to just under $57,000.”
Mahoney said SAFEbuilt is now adding money to the city budget.
“The last two years have shown a net revenue over expenditures of $50,800 and $65,500 for years 2014 and 2015 respectively,” she said. “These calculations only include operating expenditures so if you would figure in the additional needs of capital such as vehicles that cost savings would be even greater. So, operating costs alone, the city has seen a swing of almost $250,000 from 2012 to 2015.”
Mahoney said those numbers will increase shortly.
“The city pays SAFEbuilt 85 percent of most revenues collected and as of May 1, 2016, that amount will reduce to 80 percent because they have reached the $1,000,000 bench mark as agreed in the original contract,” she said. “This savings of 5 percent will mean an estimated increase in receipts for the city of about $15,000 annually.”
John Cheatham, chief building official for SAFEbuilt in Bay Village, said the company is pleased to be here.
“It’s worked out well for all of us,” he said. ‘We’re very pleased to have developed such strong working relationships with the city of Bay Village, its residents and businesses.”