Mayor Michael Nutter announced on Thursday that he intends to commit an additional $2 million to the Department of Licenses and Inspections for the 2015 fiscal year. The additional funds would pay for 31 new staff positions, Nutter said in his budget address to City Council.
The Department of Licenses and Inspections is responsible for enforcing the building, fire, zoning, and other codes in Philadelphia. It issues permits for new construction and violations for unsafe building conditions. Since 2008, L&I’s annual budget has decreased from more than $30 million to just under $22 million. During the same period, it lost nearly 80 staff members.
In 2012, the Department had around 100 inspectors, around 40 of whom were assigned to the building permits unit, according to L&I’s annual report. The same year, those 40 inspectors completed more than 100,000 inspections.
Nutter’s commitment represents an increase of around ten percent in L&I’s annual budget. The new employees will be assigned to work on the emergency services staff at L&I, according to Nutter’s address.
A special investigative committee of City Council released a report last September detailing recommended reforms in the wake of a building collapse at 22nd and Market streets last June that killed six people. The report called for L&I’s budget to be “adjusted to adequately fund the implementation of demolition reforms,” and for additional inspectors to be hired.
Jared Brey writes about development, zoning policy, and city government for PlanPhilly.com. He wasn't interested in being a reporter until halfway through a master's program in journalism at Temple University that he intended to parlay into an academic career. His work has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, City Paper, Business Journal, and Metropolis.