Business is booming in Collier County. As a result, the county needs more staff to keep up.
Collier County commissioners voted Tuesday to convert 17 permitting and inspection job bank positions, which are considered permanent positions but not full-time, to full-time positions. They also voted to hire one full-time information technology employee for the county’s Growth Administration Office.
Some of the positions were lost in the economic downturn a few years ago, County Growth Administrator Nick Casalanguida said.
“What a positive step forward this is,” Commissioner Donna Fiala said. “There is so much work going on now, which is such a positive thing.”
The need for the conversion of jobs comes as construction has exploded in the county.
Last year, there were 1,273 permits issued for new construction of one- to- two-family homes, according to county records. That was more than twice Lee County’s total of 556 in 2012 and up from 744 in Collier County in 2010.
In the first quarter of 2013, Collier issued 278 permits for new home construction, compared with 140 for Lee County. At that pace, Collier County could double its $1.7 million in 2013 budget reserves, Casalanguida said.
“That’s shocking. There are twice as many homes being built in Collier County,” said Casalanguida. “You’re seeing a tremendous rebound in one to two family homes.”
The annual difference in cost will be $419,036 for the new employees, which includes the IT employee’s salary and converts the job bank employees to full-time with 11 paid county holidays, vacation time and sick time.
The money will come from the county’s building department fund, which is generated from fees for new construction, and the land development services fund, which comes from fees collected from things like zoning changes.
In addition to the permanent employees, Casalanguida said, the county will keep 10 percent of its permitting and inspection jobs as job bank positions.
The plan had support from the Collier Building Industry Association, whose executive officer, Kathleen Curatolo, spoke in favor of the plan, and members of the building community.
“This is a very important effort,” said Ron Waldrop, president of Waldrop Engineering.