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posted: 2/28/2013 11:34 AM

Grayslake will join Libertyville in hearing process for local code violations hearings

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Anyone in Grayslake who wants to contest a local code violation could wind up in a hearing room in Libertyville under an agreement approved by both communities.

Likely starting in May, Grayslake will incorporate its local code violations into Libertyville's established monthly hearing program, under a pact Libertyville officials signed off on Tuesday.

In 2010, Libertyville established the adjudication hearing process to deal with red-light camera traffic tickets and other minor code violations. Rather than go to court, anyone who wants to fight the village can make their case before retired 19th Circuit Judge Henry Tonigan, who is paid $175 an hour to preside.

Grayslake officials several months ago considered adjudication hearings for property maintenance issues, instead of paying for police and attorneys to go to circuit court, and as a way to more quickly settle code violations.

Rather than start its own program, the village began discussions with Libertyville.

"We were looking at it from a nuisance or property maintenance perspective. It evolved to expand that a bit more to include all local ordinances," said Derek Soderholm, assistant village manager.

Those infractions can range from debris in a yard, tall grass, or excessive weeds to disorderly conduct or parking violations. Grayslake does not have red-light cameras.

"We should save about $19,000 a year in prosecution costs," Soderholm said.

The adjudication hearings are the third Wednesday of each month at the Libertyville village hall, 118 W. Cook Ave., and generally last about an hour or less, according to Libertyville Police Chief Clint Herdegen.

"Sometimes we have canceled the hearing date because either there was nothing to be heard or there were so few to hear," that the session was rescheduled, he said. That leaves ample room for Grayslake.

"Even with them bringing their caseload to us, we'll still get it done in under two hours," Herdegen said.

According to the agreement, Grayslake will pay $130 per hearing call, which covers an adjudication session for a specific type of violation, such as parking tickets, and Libertyville village staff and administrative fees.

An added charge of $25 applies if Grayslake extends the session to a second hearing call to include other violations. The agreement is for three years and automatically renews for additional three-year periods.

"It certainly is an example of a creative way communities are trying to save money," Herdegen said. Though not a lot for Libertyville, "Every little bit helps," he said.

Soderholm said he expects the village to become part of Libertyville's hearing process in May.

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