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Coroner building omitted from county capital plan

Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 10:15 p.m. CDT

GENEVA – Kane County Coroner Rob Russell – who has spent his first term advocating for new facilities – said he is disappointed a new building isn’t among the 98 projects included in the county’s five-year capital improvement plan.

“I don’t understand how anybody could think that this office is not in need of a new facility,” he said. “I’m very concerned about the possibility of ADA or OSHA violations in this building.”

Kane County Board members received a copy of the capital improvement recommendations at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, where staff stressed the plan is fluid.

The list includes additions at the judicial center, HVAC controls upgrades, boiler replacements, carpet replacements, vehicle replacements and sidewalk repairs.

While the coroner’s office has $76,000 allocated this year for a new walk-in refrigerator and new morgue freezer, it is absent from the improvements eyed for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Board member Phil Lewis, R-St. Charles, said the coroner’s office is in “desperate need” of a new building, and he would like to see it on the list.

Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said Wednesday he expects the coroner building, as well as other projects, will be added to the capital improvement plan – a comment that Russell said is encouraging.

The coroner noted how other county offices, such as the sheriff, have gained new facilities.

“I don’t understand how [the coroner’s office] cannot be part of the conversation considering I have news articles from more than 20 years ago stating the building is inadequate,” Russell said.

But Lauzen also placed some of the responsibility on Russell, saying the coroner could take some initiative about what type of facility he would want and how much it could cost.

He further criticized Russell about the budgeted $76,000 that hasn’t yet been spent this fiscal year to replace outdated equipment.

“Half the year is gone,” Lauzen said.

Before buying new equipment, Russell said, he wanted to learn about the plan for his facilities because it could affect his purchases. As for the type of facility he would want, Russell said Kankakee County provides an “excellent” example of a state-of-the-art coroner facility for a reasonable price.

The public is welcome to tour the Kane County Coroner’s Office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It is on the Kane County Government Center campus, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva.

Proposed capital projects

Kane County’s five-year capital improvement plan has 98 items. Here are a few projects recommended for each year:

2014

• $54,045 – Government center signage improvement project• $1,897,342 – Sheriff’s shooting range

2015

• $87,550 – Animal control wall insulation• $24,720 – Sidewalk repairs at all campuses

2016

• $20 million – Judicial center parking garage/build out

• $212,000 – Energy efficiency program at all buildings

2017

• $86 million – Judicial center build out• $27,250 – Outside railing replacement at the government center

2018

• $1 million – Juvenile Justice Center roof replacement• $179,200 – Building B boiler replacement at the government center

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