Department merger approved

Published 10:42 am Monday, September 11, 2017

JACKSON – Northampton County’s Board of Commissioners approved during their regular meeting here Wednesday to combine two separate county departments, Zoning and Building Inspection, in order to save money and make things more efficient.

County Manager Kimberly Turner presented the proposal to the board, citing the reasons for the department merger.

“The combining of Building Inspection and Zoning is being proposed in order to provide continuity between departments within county government. With this reorganization, our permitting process will be more efficient and easily accessible,” Turner explained.

Both departments often work jointly on issues such as land use and building codes.

The Zoning Department is housed on the first floor of the Courthouse, while the Building Inspection Department is located in the J.W. Faison Administration Building. With the vote of approval by the Board of Commissioners, the Zoning Department will move out of their current office to join the other department in the Faison Building.

“Once we can get them situated as far as moving them to the other building, that’ll free up some office space that I know the Clerk of Court is needing in the Courthouse,” Turner answered after Commissioner Fannie Greene asked where the merged department will be located.

According to Turner, the reorganization will save $24,747. Some of that will come from the fact there will be only one department head going forward. She added there will probably be additional money saved, but was unsure of the exact amount yet.

Information provided to the Board states that the Zoning Director will serve as the head for both departments since the Code Enforcement Level III position—which served previously as the head of the Building Inspection Department—is currently vacant. The administrative assistant in the Building Inspection Department will provide support for both departments since the Zoning Department did not previously have anyone to perform administrative duties.

Board Chairman Robert Carter asked when the merger would take place.

“Effective immediately,” Turner said. “We’re working on getting logistics worked out.”

Greene motioned to approve the department reorganization, and Commissioner Chester Deloatch seconded it. Though they were short one board member, the vote was in complete agreement to approve the change.

“The two departments are combined,” Chairman Carter announced after the vote.