RALEIGH — The state budget crisis is trickling down to cities all over North Carolina. The city of Raleigh will lose out on $5 million over the next two years, and the budget crunch is affecting city services.
Jim Lane inspects about 20 houses a day for builders and homeowners in Raleigh. Even at that pace, it is tough for him and other city inspectors to keep up with the demand.
"We're working now about nine-and-a-half hours a day, and before, we'd work on Saturdays just to catch up," he says.
Contractor Greg Paul says the shortage of inspectors can delay a project for days or weeks. Sometimes, crews have to stop working altogether while they wait for an inspector.
"If a house is not finished on time or if it does not have a certificate of occupancy, nobody can live in it," Paul says. "Meanwhile, people have sold their old house and have nowhere to live because an inspector can't get there."
City leaders want to hire more inspectors, engineers and police officers, but it is also short $5 million it expected to get from the state the next two years.
Councilman Marc Scruggs says the city will hire new employees to keep up with growth, but the council will have to make cuts in other areas of the budget.
City leaders say there is a chance the state will free up some money for local governments. Right now, the city plans to balance its budget without it.