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County committee vets details of proposed shooting range

GENEVA – Members of the Kane County Board Finance and Budget Committee hesitated to spend $67,500 on drawing up architectural designs for a shooting range before vetting more financial details.

Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez is seeking to build a shooting range after floods at their existing shooting range on Fabyan Parkway in Geneva left the site contaminated with mold and lead, and therefore unusable. The committee decided Wednesday to let the Administration Committee review the proposal. The Finance and Budget Committee plans to revisit the matter next month.

Perez stressed the need to have access to a firing range to keep the more than 200 sheriff’s employees certified to carry their weapons.

“We’re the third-largest law enforcement agency in Kane County,” he said. “It’s appalling to me that we’re rehashing this over and over. ... If they don’t have certifications, they can’t carry their firearms.”

The shooting range would be built onto the existing sheriff’s office building on the east wall adjacent to the building’s sally port. It would not be accessible to the public, Perez said.

Perez said there was potential for partnering with a private business, but said that project isn’t moving fast enough. He said his staff has only seven months to complete training for certification next year.

He said deputies could train at a facility in Aurora, but it would cost $5,000 and would allow deputies to use the facility only eight hours a day, twice a month.

He said that move would come with an estimated $40,000 in overtime costs because deputies would have to travel and train while not on duty.

He said if the Kane County Sheriff’s Office had its own facility, there might be an opportunity to partner with other police agencies that could use it, as well, possibly recovering some expenses.

Committee member Cristina Castro said regional partnerships could help the sheriff’s office build a small capital budget. She supported spending the $67,500 to draw up a preliminary design.

“I think we need to take this step forward. You don’t know the real numbers until the conceptual parts are done,” she said. “Let us see what it’s going to be, then come back and identify funding sources.”

Perez said the sheriff’s office received about $200,000 for housing U.S. Marshals Service inmates for one month, which is a potential funding source for the building. He also noted that the project is eligible to receive a $100,000 grant from the state, but that funding can only be used if the entire project goes forward and couldn’t be applied solely to the $67,500 for architecture specs.

Committee member Rebecca Gillam said she wished she had some of that information earlier in the discussion. She said spending the $67,500 is a commitment to build.

“You don’t spend $70,000 and say, oh yeah, we don’t want to do this,” she said. “But I’m not against it if this is our best solution.”

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