CHAIRMAN’S CORNER: Kane County’s Top 10 Achievements in 2014
Thanks to board members, countywide elected officials, our management team and entire staff, Kane County enjoyed a productive year. We all thank you for the opportunity to serve.
This began as a list of “Top 5” Achievements for 2014, but grew by several more items that I’d like to share with you.
1. Property Tax Levy Freeze for 4th Consecutive Year
County services of public safety, justice, transportation, public health, free and fair elections, planning, environmental protection, veterans’ services and much more were delivered for another year with no increase to Kane County property taxpayers. We are living within the same means that you provided in 2010 without asking for more.
2. $45 Million of State and Federal Funds Obtained for Longmeadow Parkway Construction
When we collect our county’s fair share of state and federal funds, it relieves the burden for that much sacrifice on the part of property taxpayers. This savings represents almost an entire year’s levy ($54.6 million).
3. Open County Government
“A clear conscience is the softest pillow.” as the adage goes. We continue to open more doors to constituent review and participation in county government.
First, it was county finances that were opened to all countywide elected officials, board members, executive team, frontline staff members and every citizen.
Then, all appointments to county boards and commissions were put on the Kane County website for public participation. Next, we opened communications through Kane County Connects. Now, we are working on listing all facility construction planning estimates before they commence.
Crucial research and planning were done on this originally-estimated $12 million project to streamline and automate our Kane County Courts. Selection decisions were made through collaborative efforts of our chief judge, state’s attorney, circuit clerk, public defender, sheriff, court services and many others led by our information technology department experts and a former chief judge.
5. “Big Projects” Progress
In addition to steady progress on Longmeadow Parkway and the Court Case Management System, work was completed on the sheriff’s qualifying range and coroner’s maintenance renovation.
6. Public Health Protection
Proactive management of tuberculosis, flu and potential Ebola virus, and food-borne illnesses minimized these threats to you and your family. The next stage of management progress was completed at Animal Control.
7. Seventeen (17) Units of Local Government Combined Efforts with County on Transportation
Intergovernmental cooperation among 17 township governments and the county resulted in uniform licensing of truck transportation. This joint effort saves employers and consumers money, fosters a healthier jobs environment, and was recognized by our surrounding six Northeastern Illinois counties as a model for regional cooperation and economic development.
8. Highway Salt Inventory Management and Lower Prices
Although it may seem like a relatively small item, 2014 highway salt supply management illustrated a big point about proper management of county resources and cost savings. Due to diligent attention to detail, accurate estimates, proper contract provisions and execution throughout the year, the Kane County Transportation Department avoided salt shortages during an especially long, cold winter and saved taxpayer money through adroit planning for both winters of 2014 and 2015.
9. Five-Year Planning Process Instituted
The longest journey begins with a single step. Kane County began its five-year planning process for operating and capital expenditures by county agencies coming in at or under budget. Expanding our planning horizon to five years, rather than one, will create opportunities to generate additional revenue, such as more interest earned on reserves.
10. Coordinated Planning and Conscientious Administration
Kane County is recognized as a leader in coordinated planning among the functions of transportation, public health and development. In addition, conscientious and empathetic administration of benefits by our Veterans Commission led to shorter turnaround times and more than $2 million in proper benefits being received by our citizens and neighbors who have served in U.S. Armed Forces.
Well, those are some of the highlights in retrospect for 2014. Next week, I’ll share thoughts on 2015 challenges.
Kane County Board Chairman
Dec. 30, 2014