's City Council approved the elimination of a city job on Dec. 5, agreeing to outsource electrical inspections to an outside party.
Steven Kletschka, a contract electrical inspector for the state since 2001, was hired to take over the inspection work as a contractor.
The move saves the city more than $31,000 in 2012, and an estimated $45,800 in 2013, but effectively fires Lakeville's in-house electrical inspector—a man that has served in the role for eight years. The city employee was not named during the meeting, but the only electrical inspector employed by Lakeville is a man named Dan Ordahl.
The vote was not unanimous, and was strongly opposed by .
“I’m adamantly opposed to contracting this out," he said. "There’s no such thing as free money. We’re firing an experienced employee that is an asset to our community, that’s invested in our community, and that’s something we should keep."
Kletschka was selected after seven candidates applied for the new role following the Oct. 17 decision by the council to move forward with outsourcing the job, according to David Olson, the city's community and economic development director.
Kletschka is currently doing the same contract work for the city of Fairbault, and Olson said he'll limit his work exclusively to Lakeville and Fairbault upon being hired.
For Kletschka, the agreement gives him 80 percent of permit revenues that are generated from the issuance of electrical permits, Olson said. Currently, the city charges $89.50 for a residential electrical permit, $39.50 for remodels and repairs to homes, and commercial properties pay a fee of 1.5 percent of the job cost up to $10,000, and then 1 percent on anything over $10,000.
In 2009, Lakeville collected $90,010 in electrical permit fees, but that dropped to $65,347 in 2010. In 2012, 80 percent of those fees will go to Kletschka.
Olson said Kletschka is also responsible for scheduling inspections, and providing his own vehicle and equipment, as well as insurance and backup in the event he needs time off.
Little said drawbacks include slower appointment times for residents and businesses owners—they'll be going up from 30 minutes to two-hours—and said the move offers incentive for getting through inspections, not necessarily doing them right.
“We’re not doing this for citizens, we’re not doing this for the city, and we’re not doing this for businesses, so I question why we’re doing this," Little said.
said the case is a matter of "whether we’re biased toward the public sector or the private sector."
said waiting 2 hours as a homeowner "is very reasonable compared to a lot of (utility services)."
"We did this because we looked at it as a cost savings," she said. "It's not something new."
Ratzlaff LaBeau pointed out Ordahl could have, but didn't apply to resume the role as a contractor.
Lakeville used a contractor for electrical inspections prior to Ordahl's hiring in 2004.