The next step in the process of determining what to do with a $2.5 million-a-year drop in revenue for the Kane County Sheriff’s Office will take place at the Kane County Executive Committee meeting set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 4.
At that time, board members are expected to discuss whether to adjust the Sheriff’s Office budget to reflect about $1.7 million in revenue that will no longer be coming in for the remaining 2014-15 fiscal year, following Sheriff Don Kramer’s Dec. 15 decision to end a longstanding U.S. Marshals contract.
At issue are some fundamental philosophies about local government, budget building, teamwork between elected government offices and professional responsibility.
On Dec. 15, Kramer sent an email to the U.S. Marshals Office, terminating a contract to house federal inmates at the Kane County correctional facility on the Judicial Center campus. An average of about 95 federal prisoners were held there, and the county received about $88 per prisoner per day for providing that service.
On or about Jan. 15, the U.S. Marshals Office removed 43 federal detainees from the Kane County Adult Justice Center.
On Jan. 28, Kane County’s Finance Committee unanimously recommended that the full County Board decrease this year’s Sheriff’s Office budget by $225,000 to account for about two months’ revenue that would have been received for those 43 detainees.
On Feb. 4, Kramer told members of the Executive Committee that the number of federal inmates was down to “one or two.”
This Week’s Action
On Tuesday (Feb. 24), Kramer presented members of the Kane County Judicial/Public Safety Committee with a 28-page document that included text and slides from a PowerPoint presentation explaining some of the reasons for his decision. He underlined that the “jail is not unsafe” but he felt he had to terminate the contract to address three specific challenges: outstanding litigation, diminished resources and operational capacity.
At Wednesday’s Finance Committee meeting, Kane County Executive Director Joe Onzick said the impact of the lost revenue would total a little less than $1.7 million for the remainder of this fiscal year. Onzick suggested some line items within the Sheriff’s Office budget that might be reduced in order to balance the revenue loss but emphasized that Kramer has the authority and responsibility to decide where to make reductions. Finance Committee Chairman John Hoscheit said time was of the essence to amend the 2014-15 fiscal year budget, and suggested conversation continue at the Wednesday Executive Committee meeting.
Future Action, Timing
If a budget amendment were to be presented and agreed upon at Wednesday’s Executive Committee meeting, an ordinance to amend the budget could be presented to the full County Board at its March 10 meeting. If the item is tabled, the next scheduled meeting of the full County Board board is April 14.