At least one entity is considering working with the proposed Licking County Building Code Department, set to begin operations Jan. 4, 2010.

At least one entity is considering working with the proposed Licking County Building Code Department, set to begin operations Jan. 4, 2010.

Heath initially pulled away from Newark's building-code department after Newark decided to impose fee increases.

"We do intend to try and work with the county with what they're putting together," Heath Mayor Richard Waugh said.

Last year, when Newark's building-code department was struggling to operate with a positive balance, the city increased fees for outside entities that contracted with the city for building-code services.

Hanover Village Council was the first to stop using Newark's building-code department. Heath also expressed concern over the fee increases through a letter from Waugh to Newark City Council. Heath then talked about negating the contract with Newark for building-code services.

Newark, whose building-code department is dissolving in December (see related story), already has contacted all entities that had contracted with the city for building-code services. Newark is expected to keep two zoning inspectors in the property-maintenance-code department and then contract with the new Licking County Building Code Department for other services.

Waugh said the county building-code department might handle only commercial and industrial inspections at first. Residential inspections have been another source of contention for Heath officials, who do not support current state standards for residential inspections.

In the past year, Heath's planning commission and city officials have said they believe the state's residential inspections are too invasive, requiring homeowners to obtain permits to add another electrical outlet to their homes, for example.

"I don't think that's proper," Waugh said. "I think it's government over regulation."

At the time, city officials said they would rather Heath go without a residential building code to prevent homeowners from having to get a permit for such minor installations. Newark building-code officials approached the state with Heath's concerns, but no resolutions have been provided.

Heath City Council tabled the building-code issue indefinitely, awaiting answers from the county and state.

Waugh said council probably would not take the issue off the table until members determine what the county's building-code department has to offer.

After that is determined, the city will have to decide what to do about residential inspections.