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Kane Board moves to dissolve Lauzen's coronavirus task force

'We have to get this money dispersed ... and not talk about it for three months'

Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen speaks at a Kane County Board meeting.
Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen speaks at a Kane County Board meeting.

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GENEVA – Nineteen Kane County Board members signed on to a letter that was hand-delivered Monday morning to Kane County Clerk John Cunningham calling for a special meeting Thursday to dissolve the Coronavirus Relief Fund Task Force.

The letter scheduled the meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday to dissolve the task force and replace it with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Allocation Committee to disperse the $92.9 million the county received.

One of the signatories for the special meeting was Kane County Board member Michael Kenyon, R-South Elgin.

“The disposition of these funds are so important, we need to get at it and do it right away for the benefit of the citizens,” Kenyon said.

Another signatory, Kane County Board member Drew Frasz, R-Elburn, said board members acted to call a meeting on their own after last week’s 3 1/2 hour task force meeting did not result in any solid recommendation.

“There was talk of reconfiguring the task force to include 58 people,” Frasz said. “The board felt strongly against that and the existing task force spoke out against it. … There is a parallel feeling of the current task force and the board that we have to get this money dispersed as soon as possible and not talk about it for three months. This is an effort to make some decisions fast and get this money released as soon as possible.”

At last week’s task force meeting, representatives of 18 Kane County municipalities urged the county to provide $45 million of what the county received through the CARES Act.

Frasz said recommendations for the new committee would be six county board members representing south, central and north and possibly himself to represent the western communities, and a member of the Metro West Council of Government.

“I am pretty proud that the County Board is coming together in a totally bipartisan manner to take control of the situation, to take it from the task force and get something done fast, and get the money out where it belongs, as soon as possible,” Frasz said.

“We are not disparaging people on the task force. Terry Hunt made himself an expert on this in short order and David Rickert is our go-to guy for receiving and distributing funds, that’s what he does as treasurer,” Frasz said. “I’ve talked to both and they are more than happy to stay involved as consulting people for a new committee that will keep us weeks ahead of schedule.”

In addition to himself, Lauzen appointed as task force members Auditor Terry Hunt as chairman, Treasurer David Rickert, Executive Finance Director Joe Onzick and Supervisor of Assessments Mark Armstrong.

Lauzen, who has scheduled a task force meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, said there would be a presentation on its recommendation, discussion and a resolution.

“I anticipate the task force is going to approve it and then it would to go – proper procedure – for second consideration to the County Board Executive Committee and I anticipate it will be approved there and then by the whole board six days later,” Lauzen said.

“If this is approved by the board, the function the task force was supposed to serve will have been accomplished and it will be dissolved,” Lauzen said. “I’m confident it (the resolution) will pass the task force Wednesday.”

As to his reaction to the board majority calling a meeting on their own, proposing to dissolve his committee and take over distribution of the federal funds, Lauzen said, “These folks jumped the gun.”

“My reaction to it? We already had a plan. We have a plan and a schedule,” Lauzen said. “They got in a hurry. I understand this is something very important. Right after last Wednesday’s (task force) meeting, the U.S. Treasury changed the rules. This is something we should hurry on? I don’t think so. The people who want the meeting will hurry hurry. It is important to measure twice and cut once.”

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