GENEVA – Kane County Board members met with local lawmakers Monday to tell them the county’s needs, which include the creation of a judicial facilities fee to fund the planned expansion of the Kane County Judicial Center.
“Our goal is to be able to do what we need to do, without asking taxpayers for more money,” said Kane County Board member Brian Pollock, D-Aurora. He is the co-chairman of the Kane County Board Legislative Committee, which organized the event. “We want to live within a property tax levy freeze; we just need a little bit of help.”
The committee is asking state lawmakers to sponsor three pieces of legislation, including the creation of a judicial facilities fee that would give Kane County the power to set and apply a user fee on new lawsuits that are filed. As proposed, money derived from the user fee would be set aside in a special fund for the expansion of the Kane County Judicial Center.
Pollock said the bill provides the same authority given to Will County last year. State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, is sponsoring the bill in the Senate, and State Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, is the chief co-sponsor. State Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, is the sponsor in the House.
Wheeler said he backs the idea.
“It’s giving Kane County the opportunity to fund a project the way they want to do it, and in a way that doesn’t negatively impact local property taxpayers,” Wheeler said. “I’m very happy to be on board.”
Another bill would repeal a new law that increases jurors’ pay from $10 a day to $25 for the first day of attendance and $50 for each subsequent day. Former Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill into law last year.
“It allows counties to decide if the increased fees are too much for them,” Pollock said. He said the increase would cost the county an extra $250,000 a year, which it can’t afford.
Another bill that the legislative committee is supporting is a bill that would allow counties to set a court security user fee based on the actual costs of providing court security. Pollock said the current $25 user fee does not cover the full costs of court security.
“There is a big cost gap of what we actually spend for court security and this fee,” Pollock said. “The bill allows counties to do a cost study, which we’ve already done actually, and there’s about a $950,000 gap between the actual cost of providing those services and what this user fee covers. We’re not asking to raise taxes. We’re asking for us to have the opportunity to stop subsidizing that out of our general revenue.”
On the Web
Go to KCChronicle.com to watch video from the Kane County Legislative Breakfast.