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Plan to tap existing funds negates need to borrow for Kane court software

GENEVA – Kane County’s government finance officers have found money within the county’s existing sources of income to fund much of the expected cost of updating the computer software serving the county’s court system.

And that, they said, likely will eliminate the need to borrow money for the project.

Thursday, a special Kane County task force aligned behind a plan presented by the county government’s chief financial officer, Joe Onzick, to transfer $3 million over two years from a little-used county contingency account, funded by a county public safety sales tax, toward the project.

That, together with money already committed to the project from other sources within the county budget, should give the county $6 million to spend.

The proposal from Onzick comes just two weeks after the members of the Kane County Judicial and Public Safety Technology Commission’s finance subcommittee seemed to favor borrowing $6 million over 10 years by issuing bonds backed by county sales taxes to fund the information technology project.

The Kane County Board already has committed about $800,000 a year from the Public Safety Sales Tax to the project, and has transferred $1.45 million from that sales tax fund to the project this year.

However, in taking another look at the available funding sources, Onzick said he discovered a rarely tapped contingency fund into which county sales tax dollars are poured with a balance of almost $2.1 million now, and annual input of about $450,000.

Onzick said he was unaware that the savings could be used for a project such as the court system’s proposed new electronic case management system.

Officials have discussed for years upgrading the document management system, which they say is out of date and dysfunctional.

The various county offices that operate within the court system each solicited bids from software vendors to design and install new specialized document-sharing software for their offices.

Those bids are expected to be submitted in August, at which time county officials say they will have a better idea of how much the project will cost. The funding plan will be submitted to the County Board in coming weeks.

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