Crown Point will consider contractor licensing program, board
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent July 3, 2012 3:30PM
Updated: July 4, 2012 9:40PM
CROWN POINT — A proposed new ordinance will give contractors new to the city the chance to speed up the licensing process to work here and give homeowners a new local avenue to pursue complaints against derelict contractors.
The City Council on Monday approved a request by Councilman Robert Clemons, R-2nd, to have the ordinance committee consider an ordinance that would allow contractors unlicensed in Lake County to get a license to work in Crown Point instead of going through the county licensing process.
The ordinance will also establish a contractors board that will give officials a way to pursue actions, such as revoking a license, when complaints are filed against a contractor.
Clemons said the ordinance is needed to speed up the licensing process for new contractors. Currently contractors wanting to work in the city must have a Lake County contractor’s license, a process that takes at least 60 days. While most big contracting firms already hold the license, some firms tapped by homeowners do not.
Curt Graves, the city’s director of community development, said by allowing contractors to test locally, they will be able to get their licenses sooner. The licenses would be good only in Crown Point.
“It would help expedite the process in Crown Point and save up to 30 days,” Graves said.
The proposed ordinance would also give consumers and the city the means to deal with contractors who violate ordinances or do not do the work promised by establishing a contractors licensing board.
“Contractors who continually violate ordinances or are not in compliance can be put in front of the board and we can suspend some licenses,” Graves said.
Complaints raised by consumers can also be heard before the board, giving residents a potential local solution to their concerns.
“Right now, they have no recourse besides hiring an attorney and heading to civil court,” Graves said.
Mayor David Uran said the proposal would not impact contractors who follow the rules and treat their customers properly.
“If you’re a builder doing things correctly, it doesn’t affect you at all,” he said.
Ned Kovachevich, director of the county’s Plan Commission, said Tuesday the process to obtain a contractor’s license from the county can take 60 days or longer if the applicant fails the test the first time or does not have required documentation in order. Applicants must register for the test that is administered once a month, pass the test, providing documentation for bonds, insurance and references, and go before the contractors licensing board for an interview before they are approved.