City expects to save $100K by changing planning firms

DOWNEY - The city of Downey will save more than $100,000 annually by contracting with a start-up company for building inspections, plan review services and staffing, according to a contract approved by the City Council on Tuesday.The city previously contracted with Interwest Consulting for staffing and inspection services. Interwest adjusted its rates in April of this year that resulted in an overall savings to the city, but officials here said they could receive "more favorable rates" elsewhere. According to the city's new deal with CIR Inc., the cost for a building official is $80/hr. (compared to $100/hr. with Interwest), $49/hr. for the first building inspector ($60/hr. with Interwest) and $63/hr. for a second inspector ($70/hr. at Interwest). CIR Inc. also provided the lowest rate for plan review services, officials said. The city solicited rates from five firms in an "informal" bid process. A new company, CIR Inc. was founded by a building official and combination inspector who recently resigned from Interwest. Although the company is just starting out, city officials noted the employees who would be servicing Downey have more than 40 years experience in the building and safety industry. The City Council unanimously agreed to contract with CIR Inc., and authorized staff to submit the required notice of termination to Interwest. The vote was 3-0, with council members David Gafin and Fernando Vasquez absent.

********** Published: August 11, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 17