Some area contractors are asking for a 'Residential Plumbing License.' Right now, Utica is the only city in our area that restricts unlicensed plumbers. And they say this new license will open the door for many more tradesmen, and even minorities in Utica.
"When they have a pipe burst in their house or a leaky toilet, they're not going to get charged an astronomical amount," says Robert DeLeonardo, contractor and business owner.
DeLeonardo says there are about 25 active master plumbers in Utica, which means there's not much competition. He says that's why the city needs a 'Residential Plumbing License.'
"It's gonna raise the bar of the plumbers. It just has no choice but too. When people have a choice, that's how the whole market, the whole country is set up, is to have a choice," says DeLeonardo.
"And thats gonna lead to competitive pricing, and for the city its gonna lead to revenue. It's just job opportunity, we're gonna open the door for a lot of people." says Michael Pfluke, contractor.
A Utica real estate owner says he's been doing his own plumbing for over 40 years. He says when problems happen, they need instant attention.
"If i had to wait for a licensed plumber to come, I'd be in big trouble. They call it illegal. I call it making good use of my time," says Robert Wittman, real estate broker.
And the contractors say it's interesting that there are no African-American plumbers in the city of Utica.
"This is certainly a concern to the NAACP," says Craig Grant, Vice-President of NAACP Utica-Oneida branch.
"How can there not be 1 black plumber in Utica?!" says DeLeonardo.
"This means that the playing field must not be level," says Grant.
And African-Americans aren't the only minority left off the 'Master Plumbers List."
"We have 1 Bosnian. I know ladies that can do plumbing, women, once again we don't have 1 in Utica. I don't know how that can possibly be," says DeLeonardo.
Clearly there are some controversial topics in this legislation, and I've only scratched the surface. Tomorrow night there will a council meeting to discuss the future of the 'Master Residential Plumbing License' and that will be at 5:30pm at City Hall.