DALLAS – Dallas city leaders admit they didn’t fix the problems at the building permit office in the time they set for themselves.
City council members worked to determine what needed to happen to make it easier for people and businesses to build in the city.
One solution council members are trying to find is whether the salary can be raised for the permit office since the office is funded by permit fees and unlike other municipal departments which are tax funded.
Council members expressed frustration that they are still receiving complaints that builders are finding it too hard to invest in the city.
Councilwoman Cara Mendelsohn asked why city leaders failed to meet their own deadline.
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“Councillor West, you said we should be the best in the country, but we could be the worst,” she said. “I remember a discussion where we were told that everything would be settled by today.”
Deputy city manager Majed Al-Ghafry blamed unforeseen setbacks as software challenges.
“That’s right, ma’am,” he admitted. “We were hoping we would be done by the end of this year. I made that statement in June.”
The building department is also struggling to fill staffing positions.
Mendelsohn blamed the city manager for not being at the briefing.
“Our city manager was put on a performance plan that called for this element to be completed by the end of October. We did not meet that target,” she said.
Phil Crone of the Dallas Builders Association told the council that its members still needed 10 weeks to obtain a Dallas residence permit.
“It’s the timing and the number of complaints,” he said. “Dallas is the hardest city to work with, bar none.”
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While city leaders had argued they couldn’t raise wages without it affecting the citywide pay structure, Councilman Chad West asked why not since the department is self-funding through at the expense.
“This department should be like going to the majors where everyone wants to go to work,” he said. “Why can’t we shake it?”
Mendelsohn agreed with West that the building permit office’s compensation structure should be discussed in the government’s performance and finance management committee.