Some Contractors Concerned About Ordinance Change

 Ever since a Wichita Falls ordinance change went into effect in August, city officials and councilors say they've received complaints from some contractors.
    Katie Crosbie joins us now to explain.
    Gwyn, the ordinance used to require contractors to have general liability insurance.
    But general liability is no longer a requirement.
    So, as long as contractors meet their bond requirements, they can get on the city's list of registered contractors ... meaning they can pull permits.

City councilor Tim Ingle originally proposed the ordinance change. He says *not* requiring contractors to have general liability insurance is a step toward becoming a more business-friendly city.

Tim Ingle
Wichita Falls City Councilor
"What I had heard from several people was teachers that work in the ... in the summer, other people that do part-time contract work or used to be a contractor & have done work in the past, wanted to work on their home or their neighbor's home or do something -- the deal was they couldn't get a permit - so the idea was nothing was getting inspected."

John Dickinson
John Dickinson Company
"What can I say about that? It's not like I'm trying to be a teacher in the summertime!  If you're a contractor, that's what you do full-time. I've been paying for general liability for years ... I think it's a good idea."

Ralph Filler
Ralph Filler Construction
"It's very important. It protects the contractor & it protects the public."

Bobby Teague
W.F. Building & Code Administrator
"If a contractor were to step through your ceiling - if they're doing work in the attic - or they put a roof on, & don't get it sealed properly, & you have water damage, general liability insurance can pay for that."

John Dickinson:
"Say you break a pitcher window, or your truck slips out of gear & it ruins the garage door or something ... If you don't have general liability & you're the contractor, you can just walk away. You won't have to pay for anything."

Tim Ingle:
"I think the free market is taking care of that for the ... From that perspective. But i guess it just comes down to -- how deep do we want to get into protecting people."

"As a city official, wouldn't you want to have the strongest protections possible for the citizens?"

Tim Ingle:
"Well, yes, yes you do. But do you want to make the protection so strong that you now cut out any small-time contractor? Cause a lot of insurance is 10's of 1000's of dollars a year. So we can regulate safety so well that we regulate competition right out of the market."

    Bobby Teague says many large insurance companies require general liability insurance before they'll sell contractors a bond ... He advises people to do their homework.  If you want to find out if a contractor has insurance, you can call code inspection at 761-7459.

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