Karen McConnaughayA Special Message from Chairman Karen McConnaughay

Kane County took another important step forward this month in our effort to end childhood obesity and reach our vision of ensuring that our children are the healthiest in Illinois by 2030. I was happy to report on Dec. 7 that the Making Kane County Fit for Kids Funders Consortium has announced the award of 11 grants totaling nearly $70,000 for projects and programs to help reverse the rising tide of childhood obesity in Kane County. More than a dozen County Board members who voted last April to endorse our Fit Kids 2020 Plan joined me in applauding the local agencies and community groups that will use the grants, which range from $1,200 to $10,000, to promote active lifestyles and increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Read more

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January 30, 2012 Newsletter Edition



Reduction in Kane County Staff Results in Smaller Government and Better Efficiency

Kane County began fiscal 2012 on Dec. 1 with nearly 24 percent fewer government employees than in 2004 - even as the county's population continued to grow during the entire period. Long before the economy sank into recession, Kane County had embarked on a course of fiscal prudence by keeping a tight rein on spending, building reserves, and working to control growth in such a way as to keep it from overtaking the ability to manage it. What were sound policies in the last decade, when they first were pursued, became a saving grace during what has become the worst economic downturn in generations. The willingness and ability of Kane County employees to help shoulder the load cannot be overstated.

"Our employees are the backbone of the County," stated Chairman Karen McConnaughay. "It really makes you realize what a great team of employees we have in Kane County. Together they have provided Kane County with the ability to "weather the economic storm that has swamped many others."

McConnaughay has praised Kane County's employees for their efficiency, professionalism and commitment "to serving the needs of our community" and for continuing to focus on what she called "the simple idea that smaller government, if it is responsive, efficient, and professional can capably serve the public without making excessive demands on the families and businesses it serves."
"Kane County is in a solid financial position thanks to the hard work of the Kane County Board and the men and women of county government," she said. The efficiencies achieved since 2004, when Kane County had nearly 400 more employees than it does currently, were the result, in part, of 14 main functions being consolidated under seven directors. The following changes were made:

• KaneComm 911 became a separate governing board previously under the Sheriff.

• Central Services, which had oversight of purchasing, microfilm, the print shop and mail room was eliminated. Purchasing functions are now handled by the Finance Division. Microfilm and print shop services, by the Information Technology Division (IT) and mail room functions by Facilities.

• The new Executive Director of Facilities, Development & Environmental Resources took over responsibility for Buildings and Grounds, Environmental Management, Development, Water Resources, and Transportation with oversight over Water Resources. The Development Department now administers Economic Development, Planning & Projects, and Building & Zoning and has an administrative services staff. The Division of Transportation previously had a Director or Transportation and a County Engineer. Two management positions were consolidated into one, and that Division is no longer under the previous Executive Director of Development.

• The IT Department added support responsibility for all County departments and offices including the Sheriff's Office (which includes the jail), County Clerk (and related election functions), partial support for the Circuit Court Clerk, KaneComm, and the State's Attorney. IT also provides additional support for new systems that did not exist previously, including key and security systems, election equipment, and media equipment.

• When an Executive Director of the Health Department was hired, new functions and oversight were added to existing services over time to include Animal Control, Office of Emergency Management and Office of Community Reinvestment. The Office of Community Reinvestment now has oversight of KCDEE. The Health Department eliminated 60 positions as a result of budget issues related to the State of Illinois being arrears in funding those services. Those responsibilities were taken over by other social service agencies. The net result was a restructuring of the Health Department into three divisions: Office of Community Health Resources, Division of Disease Prevention, and Division of Health Promotion.


March 20 General Primary: Be Sure To Register

Voter registration in advance of the General Primary Election on March 20 is available through Feb. 21 by mail or in person at the Office of Kane County Clerk John Cunningham, in Geneva, and at more than 40 other locations throughout Kane County. To register, applicants are required to provide two forms of identification, one with a current name and address. After Feb. 21, anyone wishing to register to vote can do so in person through March 13, but only in the County Clerk's Office. Anyone who registers during the grace period and wants to vote in the upcoming election must vote at the time of registration. To be eligible to vote you must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years of age by the next election and have resided in the precinct for 30 days prior to the next election. Early voting begins Feb. 27 and runs through March 15.

A complete menu of voter and election information, including how and where to vote and the locations and times for early voting, is available at the County Clerk's website.

A registration form can be downloaded in either English or Spanish. A completed form should be mailed to the Kane County Clerk, 719 S Batavia Ave, Bldg B, Geneva, IL 60134. Anyone who registers by mail must vote at the polls on Election Day or vote absentee in person.
Excluding Aurora, Kane County has roughly 218,000 registered voters. Residents of Aurora should consult the Aurora Election Commission for all voter information.


Kane Finance Department Honored For Award

For the 14th Consecutive year Kane County has earned the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting with an award-winning comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended Nov. 30, 2010. Kane County was awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).

The GFOA, a nonprofit professional association of about 17,500 government finance professionals, has offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

The award recognizes Kane County for demonstrating what the GFOA described as a constructive "spirit of full disclosure" to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR. The association also presented county Executive Director of Finance Cheryl Pattelli and her department with its Award of Financial Reporting Achievement for preparing the county's award-winning CAFR.

Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay said the award was "the highest form of achievement for a finance department." She credited Pattelli and her tiny department for continuing to keeping Kane County among the most esteemed in Illinois for financial reporting.

According to the GFOA, the CAFR program was established in 1945 to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual reports that demonstrate a spirit of transparency and full disclosure.



As Kane County moves toward completion of a 2040 Land Resource Management Plan over the next few months, special attention will continue to be given to the challenge of providing a long-term, sustainable supply of drinking water.

How will Kane County provide an additional 50 million to 60 million gallons of water for another 300,000 people in the most efficient and environmentally responsible manner?

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The Kane County Board voted in November to approve what County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay described as “a first step in the direction of dispatch consolidation.”

Adoption of a resolution authorizing provision of emergency 911 and dispatching services to South Elgin is part of a clear national trend over the last two decades towards public safety system consolidation, with radio networks developed to cover counties, regions, and even states.

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Kane County State's Attorney Investigator Dave Berg, it seems, has tried to follow pursuits with regard to his happiness. In high school, he knew he wanted to be a police officer. It was a job he would hold for 30 years before moving on to the Kane County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) as an investigator, a job he pursued because he wanted to work with youths.

"When I was a sophomore in high school, we were assigned topics for a term paper. I wrote about the Illinois State Police. That was the start," said Berg. At the time, he was one of very few police officers to have a college degree, a trend that has changed.

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The Kane County Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) will mark the New Year by incorporating DuPage County juveniles into what has been a long-standing mix of inmates into the regional detention facility. An intergovernmental agreement between DuPage and Kane Counties to affect the transfer of DuPage juveniles to the nearly 15-year-old facility for the next four years was approved by respective county boards late last year.

"Nothing is really different here than what we've done with three other counties (DeKalb, Kendall and McHenry)," said Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay.

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With the National Weather Service forecasting the Winter of 2011-2012 to be “colder and wetter than average,” and with the February 2011 blizzard still fresh in everyone's memory, the Kane County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) announced Dec. 6 that it has enhanced its severe winter storm plans to include new technologies and procedures. OEM director Don Bryant said the plan enhancements are designed to better coordinate a countywide response and improve communication with the public.

“With enhanced coordination of information and resources before and during a winter storm event, Kane County and its municipalities will be better prepared to serve the public during any severe winter storm,” said Bryant.

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A resolution applauding the achievement and innovation behind the county Farm Bureau’s Harvest for All hunger relief program (and in recognition of the Bureau’s recent receipt of a highly coveted national award) was passed by the County Board Nov 8th.

The Farm Bureau accepted the highest award an association can receive at an October awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. Characterized by one industry publication as “the Nobel Prize of Associations”, the Summit Awards honor organizations that advance America and the world through their work.

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Kane County Forest Preserve Commission President John J. Hoscheit was recognized recently by the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) for his 15 years of service to the forest preserve district.

An attorney from St. Charles, Hoscheit was elected to the Kane County Board in 1996 and has served in the dual role of forest preserve commissioner since then. He currently is midway through his fifth, two-year term as commission president, having first been elected to the post in 2002 by vote of the commissioners.

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As of Jan. 1, electronic equipment is no longer being collected with regular trash. Until recently most outdated electronics w ere thrown in the trash and disposed of in a landfill, wasting valuable resources, according to Jennifer Jarland, Kane County Recycling and Resource Conservation Program Coordinator.

But with the start of the new year, electronic waste is banned from Illinois landfills. By state law, unwanted electronics must now be taken to a registered recycler for proper management.

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Volunteer crews with Batavia Access Television (BATV) and their equipment are such a familiar site at County Board Meetings, they could almost go unnoticed.

But Batavia and county governments know how much they would be missed if they weren’t there.

Cities as large as Los Angeles have had to go without the community voice that public access cable channels provides and USA Today reported last year that since 2005, when support and public funding for cable access stations began to really dry up, roughly 600 public access stations across the nation had already gone black.

In addition to regular public meetings, BATV has provided coverage of special events in Kane County such as the grand opening of the Stearns Road Corridor last December.

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Residents of unincorporated Kane County, along with 18 municipalities that lie totally or partially within the county’s borders, will be asked in the March 20 General Primary Election if they want their respective governmental units to move forward with bulk or aggregating electric power purchases on their behalf.

The County, Cities of Elgin and Aurora, and the Villages of Huntley, Algonquin, Barrington Hills, Big Rock, Burlington, Campton Hills, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Gilberts, Hampshire, Hoffman Estates, Maple Park, Montgomery, Pingree Grove, South Elgin and West Dundee will ask voters:

“Shall the [governmental body] have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?”

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For the fifth year in a row, Kane County government employees have come to the aid of their hungry neighbors via their "Holiday Helping Hands" project. A donation of $12,500 in food and cash was made Dec. 13 to the Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB), based in Geneva, for distribution to 27 area food pantries.

Since the employee food drive began in 2007, "Holiday Helping Hands" has generated in excess of $50,000 in employee donations, said Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay during a hand off of the 2011 food and cash contributions to NIFB President and CEO Pete Schaefer. The donation equates to more than 50,000 meals, she said.

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Simply stated, Kane County planner Janice Hill is “the type of employee every organization wishes it had,” according to County Board member Barbara Wojnicki. As chairman of the county’s Farmland Protection Commission it fell to Wojnicki, on behalf of the County Board, to recognize Hill last month for her “visionary leadership and management as…Kane County’s first and only Farmland Protection Manager.”

Hill has worked for the county for more than a dozen years and has provided staff oversight for the county’s groundbreaking farmland protection program since its inception more than 10 years ago.

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Kane County Government Center, 719 South Batavia Avenue, Geneva, Illinois 60134