2017 Was a Banner Year for Construction in Lamar


The Building Department in the City of Lamar provides a monthly record indicating the number of construction permits that have been issued, the fees assessed by the city based on the value of the overall project and a year to date project valuation on potential property value increases. The reports provide one look at economic development within the City of Lamar based on new construction permits.

Craig Brooks, City Building Inspector, stated that for 2017, he noted the city gained income of $310,081 for construction permits with 149 contractors signed with the city for $20,395 in revenue fees and 1,490 business licenses were submitted.

“A lot of those contributions came from the Pilot Flying J construction project and the August hail storm that impacted so many homeowners and businesses in the community. Nothing really magical was done on the contractor’s applications, just enforcing the rules the city already had in place,” he said.  Brookes said there was a notable increase of 1,092 for the year which had only 80 in 2016.

He added that some structure was brought to the operation of his office and he made it a point to be in touch with contractors with numerous visits to construction sites. “You need to make a number of repeat visits to a site once work has begun which is usually done in stages.  You go from excavation of the site to the footing, steel work, the foundation, waterproofing, water backfill regulations, framing …it all has to be seen as each segment is accomplished.”  Brooks explained that the visits can head off a costly mistake or bring attention to a correction that’s needed before a project gets too far ahead.  He estimated he paid about 150 separate visits to the new truck stop construction site.

“The city is also using a new permit card that contains more needed information about the construction permit and this in turn helps the treasurer on her accounting so the permits can be tracked and audited,” he said, stating that many contractors are calling in prior to a project asking if it needs a permit.

Brooks feels his job is key to helping citizens through all phases of their projects as many don’t know all the facets of the project, nor should they have to know. “No one wants to have to pay for a permit, I understand that, but I believe I can show its value so they know their project is done safely and according to the city construction codes.  We have had less than proficient building practices for such things as a new garage, windows or additions to a structure.  I’ve seen some patios built with a 2 by 4 spanning 12 feet for support and that doesn’t work.  I am there to explain what you need and why a 2 by 8 is safer for them.”

He said he’s really encouraged for construction for the new year, “I think we’re in an upturn for development. We have interest in construction for empty lots, hotels are showing an interest in our city and some older properties that have sat vacant for so long may be developed.”  Brooks said just the downtown roofing projects are an indication that people are showing an interest in upgrading these places for future development.  He said the new Main Street construction project is an indication of growth that shows the city wants to improve the infrastructure of the community.  “We have new street lighting, a new pharmacy, work on the pediatric clinic..all these items are showing growth and improvements which gets noticed by others.  We’ve had 25 permits just last week in the middle of winter; mostly roofs, some private and some commercial including a new furnace, new air conditioning, several gas lines and drywall projects and it all adds up.”

As a comparison, the Building Department, December 2016 monthly report showed 65 inspections for $2,570 in collected fees with a total project valuation of $167,400. The report for December 2017 showed 93 permits issued for 105 inspections for $19,672 in fees and $654,395 in project valuation.  The 2017 year to date project valuation was $15,529,863.59.

By Russ Baldwin







Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyEmploymentFeaturedHousingUtilities


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