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Sheriff defends need for shooting range

GENEVA – Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez on Friday defended his office’s need for a shooting range.

“This is a necessity. It is not a luxury,” he told the Kane County Board’s Judicial and Public Safety Committee. “It’s ridiculous to sit here and argue about it.”

Perez is seeking a budget adjustment for the project, which had an initial construction cost estimate of about $1 million.

Bids, however, came in at about $800,000 over budget. The committee considered tabling the request after concerns were raised about it not being in the five-year capital plan.

Perez said the original estimate was done as a favor. The $800,000 discrepancy was not due to anything his office did, he said, but because of unforeseen costs.

The funds are there, Perez said, citing an agreement to house U.S. Marshal inmates. It generated a $2.6 million surplus in fiscal 2012 and a $2.1 million surplus in fiscal 2013, he said.

Board member Ron Ford, D-Aurora, voiced his support for the budget adjustment.

“This is the lower bidder,” he said. “Like the sheriff said, it’s nothing that they have done.”

The shooting range is planned for a location near the jail, Perez said.

The existing range on Fabyan Parkway is no longer usable, he said.

His officers – who must complete regular training for their job – use St. Charles’ facility, but use is limited to weekdays during daylight hours and it can be closed by weather, Perez said.

The committee forwarded the request to the Finance Committee after a split vote.

At the end of the meeting, Ford encouraged his colleagues to support construction projects because they positively affect the economy.

“Every time we get a chance to create a construction project, we should do our best to move it forward,” he said. “Construction projects move the economy.”

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