LIMA — The City of Lima has released the results of a Lima Building Department anonymous survey outlining the department’s strengths and weaknesses.
The survey was sent out after building officials met with Allen County Commissioners and Allen Economic Development Group President/CEO Jeff Sprague in March to discuss the potential economic impacts of Lima’s inspection services.
The Lima Building Department received a total of 53 responses from its survey sent out by email, a roughly 20 percent response rate. The majority of the responses, 75 percent, identified as contractors. Seven respondents identified as property owners; two identified as agents, and four identified as design professionals.
Other results of the survey include: 81 percent said it is easy to acquire a permit from the Lima Building Department, 68 percent said the turnaround time for plan approval is above average, 79 percent said it’s easy to schedule an inspection, 83 percent said department staff members conduct themselves in a professional manner and 83 percent rated the quality of service as above average.
Director of Public Works Howard Elstro said some of the negative responses indicated inspection services took too long and others would like the city to make more use of online plan submission to eliminate the need for individuals to drive downtown.
“I think (the survey) tells the story to some of the critics that all-in-all, there’s good acceptance and appreciation of the building department by its users,” Elstro said.
Allen County Commissioner Cory Noonan, who was asked by Sprague to represent AEDG as well as the county’s position, said AEDG is planning to hire a third-party consultant company out of Columbus to conduct a survey in order to get a better representation of the building department’s customer opinions.
“That’ll be the proof in the pudding, the response to that,” Noonan said. “For those that use the entity, we want them to be in the most comfortable spot to be as truthful as they can be.”
The Lima Building Department also sent surveys with additional questions to the townships they service. Four township officials from three townships responded, and three responded negatively about the Lima’s inspection services, Elstro said.
“I think the second takeaway is that we have some communication issues with some of the political entities in the jurisdictions of the county,” Elstro said.
“We appreciate the building department taking this first step, but we believe it is our responsibility to do our due diligence,” Noonan said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.