A familiar face will soon take over as Lowndes County building inspector, at least to the person responsible for the hire.
During Tuesday’s Lowndes County Board of Supervisors meeting, the board unanimously approved a recommendation from County Administrator Ralph Billingsley to hire Larry Collums.
Collums, 60, will begin his duties as building inspector on June 1 with a salary of $50,000, which will increase to $52,500 following a six-month probationary period. Collums replaces Charlie Culpepper, who will retire on June 30 after 24 years in the position.
Billingsley said his familiarity with Collums — the two had worked together for more than 20 years at Sanderson Plumbing Products — gave him the nod over three other candidates.
“We really did have four outstanding candidates,” Billingsley said. “I think all of them would have brought some really positive things to the job. I guess the thing that kind of swung it in Larry’s direction was my familiarity with him, not only from working with him all those years, but because of his knowledge of the building trade. He’s been doing construction work, in one form or another, all his life.”
Lowndes County is one of only a handful of counties who have building inspection departments, Billingsley said.
In his role as building inspector, Collums — along with assistant building inspector Daniel Livingston — are responsible for inspecting all major renovations or construction of both commercial and residential buildings in the county outside the city limits, Billingsley said. This year, Caledonia’s board of aldermen voted to begin building inspections in the town limits and is using the county’s building inspection department for those inspections.
“Once someone obtains a building permit, Larry and Daniel work with the contractors on each phase of the job to make sure everything is up to code,” Billingsley said.
Collums said he’s eager to get started.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “I’m so happy to have this job. It’s really perfect for me, I think.”
Collums grew up in Columbus and, aside from three years he spent in Louisiana working with his brothers in a cabinet business, has worked in the area all his adult life.
After 21 years at Sanderson, Collums spent eight years as a project manager for Associated Architectural Products, which specialized in cabinetry for medical and health care facilities throughout the South. Currently, Collums works as a subcontractor. His familiarity with area contractors, he said, will help him in his new role.
“I don’t know all the contractors, but I know a good many of them,” he said. “When you’ve been around construction all your life, you know pretty quick whether a contractor knows what he’s doing or not. So I think that will help. I’m thrilled to get the opportunity.”
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is email@example.com.