By Sue Moore
The Vicksburg Village Council’s decision last month to replace Michigan Township Services (MTS) with South Central Michigan Construction Code Inspection, Inc. (SCMCCI) for doing building inspections led to a special council meeting being called to hear the concerns of MTS president/CEO Steve Siegwart.
SCMCII was hired to do building inspections as well as zoning and blight enforcement for the village. MTS had previously been approached by Ken Schippers, interim village manager, to determine if they were interested in providing zoning and blight services, in addition to building inspections, MTS’s answer was no, so the village manager sought other options he said.
“We knew we had to get another firm, once you said no, so we went looking for other companies that could offer the services,” said council member Jeff Becker.
Siegwart acknowledged that was true but if it meant losing the entire business he does with the village, he would try to find a way to offer the service.
“We’re business friendly,” Siegwart said. “We like to cooperate, get inspections done in a timely fashion and enforce the code to keep the liability off the village, my company, and the business owner. My fees are about in the middle of what others charge but they could be negotiable. Still, I want to make a living.”
Council member Ron Smith asked about timeliness of MTS’s services if the office is closed on Friday as he had observed recently.
Siegwart said the Friday closings only occurred when construction was slow in the winter, but now they are open five days a week.
Brady Township Supervisor Randy Smith said they use SCMCCI for its inspections and zoning administration and it has worked out very well. Smith said that the ordinances are what has to be business friendly as he deems this is a by the book, type of job. He thought it would be a benefit to Brady Township to have the same company as the village for these types of services.
“They do quality work and we are very satisfied with SCMCCI,” he said.
But others in the audience disagreed. Fred Beam, a builder for 30 years in the area, supported MTS, saying it would create headaches to have an out-of-town service do the work.
“Steve is very tough and thorough,” he said. “We butt heads sometimes, but he knows his job.”
Chuck Girolami, MTS’s plumbing inspector, objected to the way the change was handled, wondering why it wasn’t put out to bid. There were no criteria and nothing in the newspaper for notification, he said.
Council member Chris Newman said the home he had just purchased had a problem with the sewer vent going through the roof which should have been caught at final inspection.
Siegwart said this was the first time he had heard of the complaint. In fact, it was revealed that Newman’s home is a modular home and the inspection was performed out of Indiana.
Village president Bill Adams adjourned the meeting without asking the council to make a decision. He announced that the subject would be brought up again at the June 2, regular council meeting.