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Kane courts ask for more money to pay jurors, interpreters

GENEVA – Running Kane County’s courts will cost more this year than last year.

And the county will need to pump in more money to keep its courts open later this year than it originally had budgeted.

But how much more the county will need to pay still is being worked out.

In coming weeks, Kane County Board committees again will tackle that question after the board’s Finance Committee took a pass last week on recommending the full board approve a request from the court administrators to supply an additional $200,000 to the judiciary.

Administrators overseeing operations at the courthouses brought the request to the board to deal with a projected shortfall in their budget.

The judiciary officials said the additional money was needed to pay for personnel and services mandated by the state.

The list of expenses needing additional funding included about $70,000 to pay jurors and $105,000 to pay contracted interpreters.

“You are going to pay this, you’ve got no choice,” said Kane County Court Administrator Doug Naughton. “These are mandated.

“It’s just a matter of when and how you pay them.”

The courts were requesting the board pay the money from a contingency fund that traditionally has been used to pay for expenses that exceed the amounts budgeted.

County departments and offices routinely submit so-called supplemental budget requests to the County Board to make up for shortfalls in their budgets, either because they receive less revenue than first anticipated or because their costs exceed earlier estimates.

Last year, the County Board kept county budgets flat, meaning that, as costs increase, supplemental budget requests to be drawn from contingency funds become more likely.

However, County Board members questioned the bill submitted by the courts. County Board member Doug Scheflow, R-Elgin, questioned whether the judiciary and its related offices had done enough to streamline their current budgets to find much of the money needed.

Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said he anticipates the board will receive supplemental requests from other departments, too, meaning the board will have other funding decisions to make.

However, the committee ultimately sent the matter back to a different committee after learning that the funding request may not give the courts all they need for the remainder of the county’s current fiscal year.

Finance Committee Chairman John Hoscheit, R-St. Charles, said the board would like to see a full budget request before making a funding decision.

“We want to know: Is this going to cover you through the end of the year?” Hoscheit said. “Since it wasn’t, we asked them to come back with a revised request.”

Hoscheit said he did not expect the revised request to be “significantly higher” than the current request.

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