Right now, plumbers must obtain a master plumbing license to work in the city of Utica. This means they must be qualified in commercial and residential plumbing. But some area contractors say they don't want to do commercial plumbing. They're asking for a residential plumbing license and they say this will open doors for many more plumbers, contractors, and re-modelers.
"Common guy that's qualified to do plumbing, like myself, can never get a license in the city of Utica," says Robert DeLeonardo, area contractor.
Robert DeLeonardo has been a contractor for over 20 years, but he can't do plumbing in Utica without a master plumbing license. He can't get that license because he doesn't do commercial plumbing, and he doesn't want to.
"Why would they want me to work in commercial? That's farcical, I'm not qualified to do commercial work or installs or the such, we're looking to help the common homeowner out," says DeLeonardo.
DeLeonardo along with several unlicensed plumbers are asking the city to consider a Residential Plumbing License, which would give them the ability to get permits and do projects in family homes in Utica.
"A lot of these guys could pass a residential exam. They're not interested in commercial work. So they could get licensed. The city could get revenue from more permits, more licenses. The consumers would have a greater choice," says Michael Pfluke, contractor and President at Kalex Energy Co. Inc.
"It should be based upon quality of work you do. License doesn't always mean your gonna get quality of work," says Mike Mimassi, contractor at A-1 Sewer Cleaning.
Pfluke says Utica is the only city in our area that restricts unlicensed plumbers.
"Every surrounding community that touches Utica shares the same infrastructure, water lines, sewer lines, but none require a licensed plumber," says Pfluke.
And the men say they respect the master plumbing license; They just want more opportunities.
"I'm hoping change occurs, more consistent, everybody on the same playing field," says Mimassi.
"City wins with revenue, consumer wins with choice, Utica wins," says Pfluke.
Eyewitness News reached out to the Plumbing Board and the City Codes Department but we did not receive comment by news time. The Common Council voted down the original residential plumbing proposal last week, but some councilmen say they will be proposing a revised legislation this January.