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Kane advancing plan to fund $9 million court case management software

GENEVA – Kane County’s elected leaders have moved closer to finding a way to foot the bill for a project to design and install an electronic court case document management system.

The Kane County Board’s Finance Committee unanimously recommended approval Wednesday of a funding package, crafted by the county’s chief financial officer, to pay for the project, now estimated to cost about $9 million over the next five years.

Under the proposal presented Wednesday, the county would dedicate more money from its public safety and transit sales tax funds toward the project.

Kane County CFO Joe Onzick said the county already has transferred $1.4 million from the county’s public safety sales tax. And the county in the next two years would transfer an additional $1 million in 2014 and $2 million in 2015 from a transit sales tax contingency fund to help pay for the project.

Onzick told the committee those funds would be replenished by new money coming in annually from the sales taxes.

The county previously had pledged about $800,000 a year from the public safety sales tax to the project.

Onzick said the project’s cost includes about $6 million to pay for the design and implementation of the software, and about $400,000 a year to pay a project manager and other information technology professionals to oversee the work.

Officials at the various offices associated with the court system, including the county’s chief judge, state’s attorney, public defender and circuit court clerk, have pushed for the project for years to replace the courts’ current systems, which they say are outdated and dysfunctional.

The county has solicited bids from software vendors to design and install new specialized document-sharing software for each of the offices. 

The bids are expected to be received later in August. The county will review those bids and select a vendor this fall.

The project initially was estimated to cost more than $12 million, but county officials have pared the price tag down since then.

County Board member John Hoscheit, R-St. Charles, chairman of the Finance Committee, said the project still could be subject to additional unexpected costs. County officials, for instance, last week discussed the need to upgrade electrical systems at the county’s courthouses to accommodate the additional load the new electronic document system could demand.

He said county officials would watch closely to keep the project’s costs down.

The funding proposal next will move to the County Board’s Executive Committee on Aug. 7. From there, it could go to the full County Board on Aug. 13.

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