DAYTON — The City Council approved resolutions this week terminating interlocal agreements with Columbia County for planning and code compliance because the county has a shortage of help in its planning office among other reasons.

“The city is looking to move in a different direction,” Dayton Mayor Zac Weatherford said. “Right now the city is only getting part-time planning and code compliance.”

He said the city’s planning committee already approved of the resolutions, and the county commissioners were told of the City Council’s likely choice before approval.

“A 60-day notice will be submitted to the county commissioners,” Weatherford said.

Now the city must decide how to handle planning and code compliance, he said, with options such as hiring two full-time employees or one to cover both.

“There was quite the discussion from Council and the public about how the city would move forward and that growth is necessary to ensure the future of our community,” Weatherford said. “We are excited to look at options for hiring a full-time planner/code enforcement employee to help with this redirection.”

In 2011, Columbia County looked to use Dayton’s code enforcement employee and said it made sense due to duplicating services and the county planning department’s lack of resources then. Dayton hired its code enforcer, Clint Atteberry in 2016 at 32 hours per week for $33,000 per year. Before that, the city hadn’t had its own code enforcement officer for decades.

Upon combining forces, the two entities raised his hours to 40 per week, with eight going to the county.

“The contract ... is an attempt to consolidate some services for consistency and move our department toward accomplishing more planning projects,” then-director of county planning, Kim Lyonnais, said. “Consolidating services with regional jurisdictions makes good sense.”

Emily Thornton can be reached at emilythornton@wwub.com or 509-526-8325.

Emily Thornton covers courts and emergency services, as well as other various stories. She has been in the newspaper industry off and on since roughly 1999 and lived primarily on the West Coast, but also Florida and Europe.

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