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Kane mulls raises for nonunion employeesKane mulls raises for state’s attorneys, public defenders, sheriff’s deputies

GENEVA – Kane County’s government will set its spending priorities for 2013 later this fall.

And while the County Board would like to give its nonunion employees slightly larger paychecks, much of that will depend on two factors: how much money the county can expect to receive in 2013 and how much the County Board is willing to give its various departments to pay for stated needs.

Monday, the Kane County Board Finance Committee continued reviewing budget requests from the county’s offices and departments.

The County Board, acting on guidance from Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay, required each office and department to submit a spending plan that spends the same amount as what that office and department budgeted in 2012.

In some instances, that is impossible because the county’s employees represented by labor unions will receive wage increases as required by their contracts.

Others, such as the Kane County Division of Transportation, will spend more this year because they receive money from outside sources – such as the federal and state governments – and move money allocated for construction projects onto the 2013 books.

Finance Committee members appeared to have no trouble with those budget requests, sending most budget requests on to the full County Board for its consideration later.

In other instances, the Finance Committee required county officials and department heads to submit two documents – a “flat” budget request and a supplemental budget request, detailing additional money the department or office would like to spend.

The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Kane County Public Defender’s Office asked for pay raises for the county’s assistant state’s attorneys and public defenders to equalize their salaries with that of their counterparts in surrounding counties.

And the Kane County Sheriff’s Office requested funding for five new deputies, which the sheriff’s office has said is necessary to reduce the burden on the county’s 85 deputies.

The Finance Committee will take additional spending requests at a later time.

At Monday’s meeting, Finance Committee members also discussed the possibility of changing how the county pays lobbyists. Currently, the county allows departments, such as KDOT, to pay for its own lobbyists to represent its interests in Springfield and Washington, D.C.

Some on the board argued those services should be centralized under the supervision of the County Board chairman to better review what it pays lobbyists.

KDOT pays its lobbyist $30,000, according to KDOT’s budget documents.

County Board member Cathy Hurlbut, R-Elgin, argued the lobbyists are essential.

She noted KDOT’s lobbyist plays a key role in helping the roads agency bring in federal and state money to pay for local projects.

“Cutting this would be a huge mistake,” Hurlbut said.

The Finance Committee is scheduled to resume its budget discussion at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 19.

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