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Kane committee moves forward on coronavirus funds distribution

Committee to meet again July 13

The Kane County Health Department in Aurora.
The Kane County Health Department in Aurora.

GENEVA – After a three-hour meeting Monday, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Allocation Committee set up a course of action to deliver $92.9 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to municipalities, park districts, fire districts, the forest preserve district and the county itself.

The committee agreed to create a formal application process and to draft intergovernmental agreements.

“The consensus of the committee at this time is that 45% of the funds for municipal recipients and retaining 55% at this time for further discussion and from that amount we would provide distribution to the county for county-wide programs,” committee chairman John Hoscheit said. “The largest would be for the Health Department’s COVID-related expenses.”

The committee consensus was that this initial distribution will be enough for the municipalities' needs and for them to consider funds to help support small businesses as well.

The committee did not take formal action, but set up another meeting at 2 p.m. Monday to continue.

Hoscheit said the expectation is for the committee’s recommendation to go to the Executive Committee, which is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday, then to the full County Board for its 9:45 a.m. meeting July 14.

But County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen scheduled a special Executive Committee meeting for 10 a.m. Friday.

The agendas of the regular Executive Committee and the special Executive Committee meetings both include dissolving the Coronavirus Relief Fund Task Force and acting on the task force’s recommendation from last week on dispersing $42 million of the coronavirus relief funds.

The task force’s resolution on funding will be subject to being amended by the committee or full county board level, Hoscheit said.

“I am confident we will be able to get a majority consensus to move forward with this and give a commitment to our municipalities that the funds be shared … sooner rather than later,” Hoscheit said.

It should be clear to municipalities that there is not enough money to pay 100% of their police and fire costs from March 1 to Dec. 31, Hoscheit said.

“That is unrealistic. The cost of that was projected at $155 million,” Hoscheit said. “The cities realize that is not practical at this point."

Releasing these funds to municipalities will satisfy their needs and have funds for small business grants, Hoscheit said.

The $5 million the task force had recommended be given to the Health Department for coronavirus care packages for county residents was later reduced to $1 million in committee, Hoscheit said.

Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns read a letter to the committee from the Metro West Council of Government regarding a $45 million allocation for its 18 member communities for safety, public health and first responder expenses. Burns is also president of Metro West.

The letter also called for correcting and verifying the municipality populations the task force relied on to make funding recommendations.

The letter sought to have a non-voting member on the committee. Burns had initially been considered to be on the committee – as well as Kenneth Shepro, the attorney for the Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District.

But board members ultimately decided to limit the allocation committee just to county board members.

“I welcome the mayors’ involvement and the organizations’ input is critical,” Hoscheit said. “Everyone is welcome and is encouraged to participate.”

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