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Local

New county committee to take on allocating $92.9M in virus relief funds

Committee to meet July 6 to hammer out distribution details

Kane County Board member John Hoscheit, R-St. Charles, was chosen to be the chairman of the newly formed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Allocation Committee. The new committee will take over allocating the $9.2.9 million in federal virus relief funds to local communities.
Kane County Board member John Hoscheit, R-St. Charles, was chosen to be the chairman of the newly formed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Allocation Committee. The new committee will take over allocating the $9.2.9 million in federal virus relief funds to local communities.

GENEVA – After two hours of sometimes raucous discussion – that included a threat to have a board member physically removed and a pointed jab at a male Republican – the Kane County Board approved the creation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Allocation Committee.

The board met at a special meeting Thursday to dissolve the Coronavirus Relief Fund Task Force and to create an ad hoc committee to handle disbursement of the $92.9 million in federal virus relief money the county received.

The board voted to have John Hoscheit, R-St. Charles as the committee’s chairman, to add Michael Kenyon, R-South Elgin as a member – and not to have Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns as a member representing the Metro West Council of Government because he is not a County Board member.

Hoscheit said the committee would meet at 9 a.m. July 6. The agenda and meeting details will be posted on the county's website, www.countyofkane.org.

Though the task force voted to dissolve itself at Wednesday’s meeting, Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon advised that it cannot dissolve itself, only the County Board can do that.

Board member John Martin, R-Geneva, said all other interested parties – whether from municipalities or fire districts – can attend the committee’s meetings and advocate for their interests, “and not have unfair advantage sitting at the table.”

The other committee members are Jarett Sanchez, D-Carpentersville, Angela Thomas, D-Aurora, Clifford Surges, R-Gilberts, Drew Frasz, R-Elburn and Matt Hanson, D- Aurora, making it a seven-member committee.

At one point, Board Chairman Chris Lauzen chastised Board member Theresa Barreiro, D-Aurora, “I asked you not to speak without being recognized.”

“One further question, you are so impatient,” Lauzen said. “I left three grandkids yesterday morning, crying, to drive 13 1/2 hours to be here.”

When Barreiro again tried to speak, Lauzen again admonished her.

“I am giving you a formal notice, Ms. Barreiro. If you interrupt again, I will ask the sergeant at arms to remove you from this meeting,” Lauzen said. “This is what it takes to organize a group of people.”

In discussion about a proposal to add board members from Elgin to the committee – which would have included another woman – Hoscheit responded that Lauzen was interjecting party affiliation and gender when newspaper accounts stated that the chairman wanted politics out of it.

“You are doing just that,” Hoscheit said. “This is a democratic approach. I am confident the people suggested to be appointed to the committee are willing to be unbiased and work for the county as a whole.”

“I would expect that to come from a male Republican politician,” Lauzen said.

Those in attendance responded with hoots.

Frasz said he spoke at length with Republican and Democratic board members, men and women.

“I’m so proud of the fact that this board came together to call this meeting, in a completely bipartisan way to get it done, and done fast, to get this money out to the people,” Frasz said. “The key thing is to get something out as soon as possible to the Executive and full County Board meetings.”

Hoscheit said the committee will deal with the task force’s recommended allocations to municipalities, adding his suggestion that they include their fire districts’ needs in their requests.

“DuPage County provided allocations for park districts, townships,” Hoscheit said. “Those are the types of things we will have to discuss as we move forward.”

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