In a brief, 30-minute regular meeting, Lewisville City Council re-established regulations requiring contractors to register with the city, raised the price of solid waste and recycling services to stay in line with costs and raised the speed limit on Valley Ridge Boulevard to 40 mph.
Building contractors will now be required to register with the city. This allows the city to require contractors to be insured and comply with city ordinances or no longer be allowed to work in Lewisville. Registering as a contractor with the city costs $80, except for plumbing and electrical contractors who the state does not allow to be charged by localities, inspections services director Wayne Snell said. The new ordinance would establish a fine of up to $500 per violation, which becomes a fine of up to $2,000 per violation if it relates to fire safety, zoning or public health and sanitation.
Snell said the requirement on contractors is in line with what most cities do across the country to insure against shoddy work in the city.
“We have contractors doing work without permits, contractors doing work and not fulfilling the permit, doing work and not finishing it all the way through, whatever the case may be,” he said. “I went back and we start going through the ordinances and discover that we didn’t have any recourse for contractors. We didn’t have any ability to pull their registration or prevent them from pulling permits moving forward.”
Snell and development services assistant city manager Claire Swann said contractors were previously required to file with the city, but those regulations were taken off the books sometime in 2007 in an attempt to streamline the permitting process, but a lack of legal recourse against contractors who don’t play by the rules has lead to other problems, including one instance where the city had to pay out-of-pocket to repair city property that was damaged by a contractor who was doing a private job.
“I’ve gotten several emails this past year of residents complaining about various projects that were incomplete, not done or plain, flat not allowed within the city limits, and I know this puts staff in a bad position and it puts homeowners in a bad position,” council member TJ Gilmore said.
The council raised the cost of trash and recycling collection by 3.2 percent to pay for a 3.2 percent increase in fees from city contracted disposal company Waste Management, which was itself responding to a 3.2 percent increase in the DFW Consumer Price Index. Gilmore, who is the public sector manager for Waste Management, recused himself from the vote.
The council also voted to raise the speed limit on Valley Ridge Boulevard between Mill Street and State Highway 121 Business to 40 mph. The city had conducted a speed study and found that most drivers average just under 45 mph down the curved stretch of roadway.
Council meetings, which are held on the first and third Mondays of every month except when they fall on a holiday, are recorded and posted on the city Youtube channel.