Will County nixes grant for rental inspections

The idea of a Will County rental inspection program drew the ire of board member Steve Balich, R-Orland Park, who said it was “unconstitutional.”
The county board’s Executive Committee Thursday pulled the item off a list of programs recommended for grant funding, and instead referred it to the Land Use Committee for future discussion.

Board speaker Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort Township, said he did not want to argue the merits of such a program, but said it should be discussed in an open meeting to allow for public input.
Rental inspection was one of many suggestions made by an advisory board to receive a slice of the $2.1 million in funding the county will get from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

The list was first presented at Tuesday’s Land Use Committee meeting, when Balich claimed involuntary inspections violated the 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments, relating to unlawful searches and due process.
“There’s a lot of people like me who are upset with the whole concept,” Balich said. “This is not the best use of grant money. Money should be used to help people not expand government.”
If tenants have a problem with the property, they should call the land use department, he said, adding that inspections should be voluntary.
Curt Paddock, director of the county’s land use department said the $25,000 grant funding would be used to study the need for an inspection program and if there was a legal basis for it, and if so, how it would be structured.
“Someone (on the advisory committee) thought it was a good idea. It is merely a proposal,” Paddock told the Land Use Committee.
Two days later, when the list of recommendations was approved by the Executive Committee, rental inspections was deleted.
If a study should be done, the county will pay for it, Moustis said.

Items on the list recommended for approval indicated funds for the Fairmont community in unincorporated Lockport Township, such as $250,000 for drainage, $271,500 for housing, and $225,000 for housing rehabilitation.

Other programs to be funded included:
•$150,000 for water mains in Lockport Heights area of Homer Township
•$195,000 for homeless services
•$216,434 for infrastructure improvements in Bolingbrook
•$185,000 Habitat for Humanity Will County
•$65,000 for senior services
•$22,500 for Cornerstone Services
•$35,000 for Friends and Family
•$12,000 for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
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