Newark City Council's personnel committee still has questions about how the property maintenance department will handle zoning issues once the city's building code department is disbanded in January.

Newark City Council's personnel committee still has questions about how the property maintenance department will handle zoning issues once the city's building code department is disbanded in January.

The city is dissolving the department because of financial issues.

Licking County is expected to open its own building code department in January. It is expected to provide services for other government entities, just as the city's building code department did for several years.

When Newark dissolves its building code department, the city will need to retain at least two employees for zoning inspections and flood-plain inspections, Mayor Bob Diebold said.

The administration has proposed changing the current property maintenance code department to include two positions: a property maintenance officer and zoning official and assistant property maintenance officer and zoning official.

Diebold said the salary range is being increased because both positions would require a college degree and some certifications.

"We need an inspector who's qualified," Diebold said.

Council member David Rhodes said the personnel committee planned to talk about the positions Oct. 26 but discussion was delayed to give the administration time to answer more questions.

"A couple of members of the committee were alarmed at the salary," Rhodes said.

Diebold said the existing property maintenance supervisor earns $49,000 annually. The proposed salary for the new property maintenance officer and zoning official is $56,000. The assistant's salary is suggested at $50,000.

Rhodes said the committee wants to look at the job descriptions in more detail before considering the proposed salaries and job changes.

When the personnel committee considers the new positions, it also needs to review legislation to abolish all positions in the building code department.

Newark officials anticipate the department will be dissolved by the end of the year if Newark City Council approves proposed legislation. Local services are expected to continue with the proposed Jan. 4, 2010, opening of Licking County's building code department.