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Kane County considers charging fees for use of property

GENEVA – The Kane County Board soon might create new criteria for those wanting to use county property for events.

The Administration Committee on Thursday discussed the possibility of implementing fees for certain groups, among other changes.

The county’s existing policy outlines guidelines for use of the lawn and parking lots of the Kane County Government Center, the Third Street Courthouse, the Circuit Clerk Office and the Judicial Center. Applicants must provide such information as the proposed use, the estimated attendance and whether refreshments will be sold.

The policy states the events must be temporary and cannot disrupt the business inside the buildings. It also recommends applicants obtain liability insurance.

Board member Doug Scheflow, R-Elgin, said insurance should be required.

“I’m not worried about them,” he said. “I’m worried about the county.”

He also suggested charging for the use of county facilities, noting other governmental bodies charge for theirs.

“Nothing is free anymore,” Scheflow said. “I think everybody I’ve ever seen charges for their facilities.”

Theresa Barreiro, D-Aurora, agreed, but Phil Lewis, R-St. Charles, did not.

He said a distinction should be made between private use, such as a wedding reception, and public use, such as an event sponsored by a municipality.

The Geneva Chamber of Commerce, for example, has submitted requests for Swedish Days in June, classic car shows in July and August, the Geneva Fine Art Show in July, Festival of the Vine in September and Christmas Walk in December.

Drew Frasz, R-Elburn, agreed that charging a private, for-profit enterprise has merit. For a future meeting, he asked staff to provide a list of the events held on county property in recent years.

The committee plans to revisit the subject at its February meeting.

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