WINTHROP – The Inspectional Services Department kicked off the new year with everyone moving under one roof at 100 Kennedy Drive across from the Fort Banks school.
“We merged everything to make it more efficient,” said Commissioner Albert Legee, adding the department was created in May 2014 when he was hired. Now the health department, building department, weights and measures, plumbing, electrical, restaurant inspections and housing inspector can work together to better serve the town. The department also deals with dumpster use, tobacco sales compliance and illegal or unsafe housing. Now only the public health nurse still has an office in town hall.
“Having an inspectional services department is the way of the future having everyone under one roof,” Legee explained.
Legee arrived in Winthrop after 10 years as the building inspector in Chelsea. At the time the head of the Winthrop health department was out ill. Consequently, Legee and his staff played a lot of catch up when he started. The department has a combined budget of $320,000.
“We geared up to bring the housing stock in town into compliance,” Legee said. “We have been working on heavy enforcement of properties that are in disarray. We (the town) took two properties on Shirley and Moore.”
He has also worked on cleaning out an illegal apartment where drugs were allegedly sold. Another property was cited for overgrown vegetation and yet another property has a hoarding problem. So far the department has brought in $227,000 from fines on properties in violation, namely illegal apartments. On a positive note the department has worked on occupancy permits for new housing and all restaurants/food establishments have been inspected and are in compliance.
“I have an open door policy here for everyone, property owners, business owners,” Legee said. “My strong point is to work with and help people.”