Current State law requires the City of Batavia to have a plumbing inspector, and some of the City Council want to see the job filled.
At Monday's council meeting, City Manager Jason Molino called the requirement for a plumbing inspector an antiquated law and City Attorney George Van Nest argued that the city has done everything it can to fill the position, which is all it's required to do.
Council members Tim Buckley, Rose Mary Christian and Bob Bialkowski all urged City staff to fill the position.
Bialkowski called it a "public health issue."
"Even though state law says code enforcement can do it, you’re not a plumber," Bialkwoski said. "You don’t know what you’re looking at."
Not necessarily, Molino said.
Currently, the city's code enforcement officers are performing plumbing inspections. Molino said they are trained and licensed by New York for such inspections and in towns and villages across the state, code enforcement officers handle plumbing inspection duties.
Only cities, under current state law, are required to have a certified plumbing inspector.
The Town of Amherst, Molino noted, which is larger than Batavia, uses code enforcement officers for plumbing inspections.
"There is no public health risk," Molino said.
Van Nest noted that there are efforts underway to get the state law changed.
"It’s not like there are some safety issues there that are going unaddressed, because these people are certified code enforcement officials for New York State with all licensing and training," Van Nest said.
The topic was opened in public comments by Batavia resident David Pero, who said he has 40 years experience in plumbing.
"Plumbing has to do with public health," Pero said. "Do the right thing council, put back what is right. We are a city, therefore protect our taxpayers. Plumbing inspecting should be done by a qualified master plumber."
After Barb Toal retired as the city's inspector, Ron Toal stepped in on an interim basis, but then quit June 2. Molino issued an emergency declaration to allow the city's code enforcement officers to take over the duties since no certified inspector had been identified.