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Metro West to COVID task force: Give us $45M

Kane communities want equitable share of $92.9M in coronavirus relief funds

GENEVA – Representatives of Kane County municipalities made it clear at the Coronavirus Relief Fund Task Force meeting Wednesday that they expect to receive $45 million of the $92.9 million the county received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns, speaking as president of the Metro West Council of Government, asked the task force to be equitable.

“Today I am representing 18 Kane County communities urging the coronavirus elite task force to invest – with all due speed – the millions of dollars in the municipalities who have and continue to weather the public health emergency and the storm that is the coronavirus,” Burns said.

The 18 communities are Aurora, Elgin, St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, South Elgin, Maple Park, West Dundee, North Aurora, Sleepy Hollow, Campton Hills, Gilberts, Hampshire, East Dundee and Carpentersville, Algonquin, Elburn, Sugar Grove and Pingree Grove, Burns said.

All communities involved have already provided the county with a spreadsheet documenting “$45,500,000 in eligible expenses,” Burns said.

“These communities represent over 400,000 Kane County residents and the cities have a population of more than 75 percent the residents of Kane County,” Burns said. “Local governments in Kane County were not included in direct CARES Act allocations by the the state of Illinois or our friends in Washington, D.C.”

Burns said the municipalities seek a partnership with the task force and the County Board to request a portion of the CARES Act funding.

Burns said the municipalities experienced millions in unexpected costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that it be based on $51.84 per capita that is the state formula that do not receive direct funding from federal government.

“Metro West cannot urge strong enough, respectfully enough and aggressively enough that Kane County see that funding distributed per capita,” Burns said.

“My presence here this afternoon on behalf of Metro West is not political, but practical,” Burns said. “It’s about seeking a partnership with you.”

Burns said the local units of government would draft intergovernmental agreements that would release the county from any liability from distributing the funds, as they are subject to audit.

Elgin Mayor David Kaptain added his comments, saying the communities were hit with extraordinary expenses in response to the pandemic.

“None of us sitting in this room six months ago were looking at these expenditures,” Kaptain said. “This really put a burden on us. … Let’s all move forward for the residents of Kane County.”

Aurora Mayor Richard Irwin noted that Aurora is the second-largest city in Illinois.

“Our public safety officers in Aurora have seen a record number of calls over the last few months related to coronavirus.” Irvin said. “Besides having to take many expensive, special precautions for the coronavirus with the presumption of all service calls involving coronavirus, looters on May 31 struck the Kane County part of downtown Aurora."

The task force meeting, which ran for 3 1/2 hours, included presentations from the county’s departments, each listing their additional costs and challenges due to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The task force is an advising body and does not have the power to allocate funds. The Kane County Board would vote to decide how the funds are distributed. The county is not required to distribute funds to local municipalities, but may choose to do so, officials said.

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