A warmer winter than usual is in the works for eight low-income homeowners in Pulaski County, thanks to a grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. Shawn Cain from the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission appeared before the county commissioners to request they approve a waiver of building fees for these eight homes that have been selected to receive much-needed improvements at no cost to the owners.
“We are requesting a waiving of the fees only from the building permit so that we can make better use of the funds that are available to these homeowners,” said Cain.
The fees, which average $200 per home, would have to be taken out of the grant money and would therefore reduce the amount of money that could be spent on each home. Currently, eight homes have an average of $16,000 each to spend on various improvements, such as heating, air conditioning, insulation, and windows. Some of the properties to be improved are currently without a source of heat, so they would be in a bad spot come winter.
“It was income-based, there was a median level that they could not exceed, as well as we had to inspect the homes, make certain that it was something that was repairable, and we were able to be, in our repairs, bringing it up to code,” said Cain.
Cain explained to the commissioners that most of the work that is going to be done on the homes is considered remodeling, and she said that even though the fees would be waived, they would still undergo every inspection and follow every other regulation. The work would actually be inspected three times: once by an inspector from the IHCDA, once by a county inspector, and a final time by a KIRPC inspector.
At first, Commissioner Michael Tiede was uneasy about waiving the fees because he felt that the fees were the backbone of the Building Department’s income and waiving those fees could set a bad precedent. However, he soon decided to give his approval for the request in order to help “beautify the county.”
The commissioners moved to approve the request and waive the fees. Work is expected to start within the next 30 days, and according to Cain, the improvements should be complete by the end of the year.