The Nutter administration has put a price tag on fixing the Department of Licenses and Inspections: $13.9 million, which would cover 110 new city employees and their equipment.
The department has about 300 employees and an annual budget of $27.6 million. Under the changes outlined in a draft report titled "L&I 2015 Plan for a Safer City," the agency would gain 83 employees. An additional 27 would go to other city agencies, including the Fire Department.
The report is the administration's response to recommendations made by mayor's special independent advisory commission, which in October suggested 37 steps for reforming L&I.
The commission - created in response to the 2013 Center City building collapse that killed six people and injured 13 - found that L&I was underfunded, had too many responsibilities, and would better operate as two agencies: a Department of Buildings and a Department of Business Compliance. It did not, however, address cost or how to implement its recommendations.
That task was given to a committee composed of L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams and 23 other top administration officials. Their 104-page report, completed last month, is now in the hands of a Building Safety Oversight Board, led by former Deputy Mayor Michael Nadol. That board will give Mayor Nutter final recommendations on how to proceed with the L&I reform.
The report, which The Inquirer acquired late last week, also suggests involving the Fire Department in inspection of buildings for fire-code violations. Fire-code inspections have been a core function of L&I since 1951.
The committee's recommendations include spending:
$4.1 million to hire 35 building inspectors, including electrical and plumbing inspectors and a crane inspector, and to buy new cars and equipment for them.
$1.7 million to buy a vacant property management system and hire 10 staffers who would focus on vacant properties.
$1.7 million to hire 17 staffers to work in an expanded Fire Code Unit.
$2.7 million for the Fire Department to hire 15 fire inspectors and provide additional training to existing staff.
Nadol said Monday that the Building Safety Oversight Board "will build on" on the committee's report.
Nadol said his priority would be to nail down what L&I's budget should look like in fiscal 2016, which starts July 1. The mayor is scheduled to give his budget address March 5.
He said some of the recommendations could be "phased in over the years."
Williams, who led the committee, referred questions to Mark McDonald, the mayor's spokesman.
McDonald said the "budgetary elements" of the report would be vetted by the budget and finance directors. "The administration will do what it can to implement recommendations in the fiscal year," McDonald said. "It will be part of a comprehensive budget."
The committee did not address the independent advisory commission's most drastic recommendation: Splitting L&I into two new agencies. To do that would require a change in the City Charter.