County Highway Superintendent Explains Bridge Inspector Request

starke-county-courthouseStarke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler does not stand to get a $10,000 raise if the county approves the establishment of a bridge inspector position in 2016.

He told Commissioners Kathy Norem and Don Binkley Monday night that several highway department employees are taking the required certification classes to do inspections, but so far he’s the only one who has completed the process. He says the county stands to save quite a bit of money by doing the work themselves, as employees are paid at their normal hourly rate rather than the much higher salaries outside consultants command.

Ritzler says the proposed money is not tied to his salary because he won’t be the only one doing the work. By setting it aside in a bridge inspection line item, the county council will be able to pay each employee for work they actually do.

Ritzler says the goal is to save the county money.

“People say ‘oh, it’s a raise of $10,000.’ It’s really extra work that’s being done – extra work that’s saving. We’ve waited to even ask for this until we showed that we actually saved the money. Right now we’re doing a bridge project on 100 East that’s only taking a month to do. The construction inspection cost for that would have been $30,000 for one month, and we’re able to do that with what we have with my inspector and myself doing that.”

The commissioners asked Ritzler to bring more information about money spent on outside consultants and inspectors for prior jobs and the projected 2016 cost to their next meeting. They want President of the Commissioners Kent Danford to be present for the discussion as well.