County contracts with city for building inspections

Published 9:15 am Friday, November 30, 2012


COURTLAND—Southampton County and Franklin City officials on Monday entered an agreement to share services and formalized their first project.

County building inspector John Jenkins will retire Saturday, Dec. 1, but his position will not be filled. The county has contracted with Franklin’s building inspector to provide the construction-related service for $30 an hour for a maximum of 20 hours a week.

The maximum the county would pay for one year is $31,200. Jenkins’ salary and benefits cost the county $64,000 annually.

Berlin-Ivor District Supervisor Ron West is excited about the two governing bodies working together on such endeavors.

“This is the first time in 13 years that I have seen this kind of promise of working together — a general feeling of working in cooperation together,” West said. “For the first time, I see we are really pulling together to make this thing work. We see the need, and the leadership is in place. The community is going to be the winner.”

West and Franklin District Supervisor Barry Porter will represent the county and Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn and Vice Mayor Barry Cheatham will represent the city in the effort.

Although preliminary, West said they are exploring areas, which could include regional garbage and sewer services. He noted that both communities have their assets. Southampton County has a modern sewer treatment plant in Courtland that’s not at capacity and land for commercial and industrial development.

Cheatham said he feels it would be premature to comment on possibilities because not all of the services have been defined.

“We as a joint committee have said we will be exploring any and all possibilities,” Cheatham said. “We have discussed getting our schools to also discuss some areas of cooperation as well.”

Porter agreed.

“The activity is on the table and we’re looking at the things we do and whether or not the incentive is there,” he said. “We want to find any places we can work together and save money.”