Vanderburgh County Commissioners want to change licensing process for contractors

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VANDERBURGH COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) – Some big changes could be coming for builders and contractors in Vanderburgh County. Vanderburgh County Commissioners said they would like to rescind a section of the county code (Chapter 15.36) that currently requires all contractors have licenses before they can legally do any work.

Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave said, “I think the members of the general public are not entirely aware of the cost that they pay for these ridiculous job killing, growth killing regulations.”

Vanderburgh county is one of the only counties in Indiana that requires all 45 types of contractors be licensed before doing any work. The Commissioners say they have an issue with this.

“These regulations do not exist in other counties, there’s no reason that they should exist here,” added Musgrave.

In order to get a license, these contractors must take a written test, which Commissioner Jeff Hatfield, himself a homebuilder, says is unfair.

“Many of our people in our work force are very very good at what they do,” said Hatfield. “They’re good carpenters, good bricklayers, they’re good at everything that they’re skilled at. They aren’t necessarily good test takers. And in many ways the tests that they take don’t have anything to do with their trade.”

The Commission’s idea is to rescind the code and instead require that contractors register with the joint city-county building commissioner and show proof of public liability and property damage insurance policy.
Some local contractors say they are hesitant about it.

“I’m not sure it’d be the best situation,” said Dennis Fenwick of E.L. Walters HVAC. “I’m kind of hesitant a little bit, I know it needs some work and adjustment maybe, but getting rid of it may not be a great thing.”

Fenwick says testing helps weed out those who may not be up to par.

“It does help to eliminate some of the people that need training that would be going on out that doesn’t have the knowledge to do the work,” added Fenwick. He said if testing is rescinded, they will continue to do training of their own. Others are saying they just need more time to reconsider all possibilities.

“We need some time for the builders, the people who are regulated by this to have a chance to sit down and talk about it and what the pros and what the cons are,” said Bill Pedtke, Southern Indiana Builders Association.

“So the general public: If you’re tired of paying the extra costs of these regulations, please let us know,” added Musgrave.

The Commission is welcoming the public to voice their opinions at the second hearing on November 9th. The Commissioners stated that this would only affect contractors doing work in the unincorporated areas of Vanderburgh County and not in the city of Evansville or town of Darmstadt.

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