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County may delay or scrap some building projects : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
County may delay or scrap some building projects
Seeking to cut costs, officials shelve plans for office addition, storage building

by Matt Schury


Some of the building projects Kendall County planned to begin soon will have to be pushed back a couple of years and some may be scrapped all together, Kendall County Board member John Purcell told the board last week.

"As you may all be aware, we at the committee have been discussing a capital plan for quite some time, probably a year, now," he said.

Elected officials and department heads submitted requests for the five-year plan.

"We looked at it, and we looked at it, and through some adjustments and many discussions we essentially have found that we can't fund all the requests," Purcell said.

He mentioned that he wanted further discussion during the board's committee of the whole meeting scheduled for today, Thursday, July 10.

The original general fund requests were for about $24 million and the committee eliminated four items, Purcell said. The biggest change the committee requested was a reduction in the plans to expand the county's office building in Yorkville. The capital improvement plan that was written 10 years ago suggested doubling the size of the building at a cost of $10.7 million.

"The committee just said, "You know we just don't see that happening here in the next five years ... four years,'" Purcell said.

The committee also eliminated a request from Kendall County Clerk Debbie Gillette to build a new record storage building.

"Debbie had been looking for some more storage," Purcell said, adding that they eliminated the need for a storage building by using a residential house the county purchased a few years ago near the County office Building in Yorkville.

Purcell added that Gillette said they would be able to store records in that house which reduced the need for a $600,000 storage building and a proposed $88,000 for shelving.

Including eliminating a request for an administration vehicle for $20,000, Purcell said the committee reduced expenses in that capital plan by $11.5 million.

He explained that the committee also likes the idea of stretching the plan from five to seven years. He added that they adjusted revenues and expenses but the county would still be short about $2 million to fund all the projects they have planned.

"There's not enough money and we can't fund everything, so we're just going to have to make elective policy decisions as board members," Purcell told the board.

The general fund balance is about six and a half to eight months worth of operating funds, Purcell estimated when asked by Board member Jeff Wehrli.

The total general fund budget is about $25 million and the fund balance fluctuates from $14 to $15 million throughout the year, Purcell explained. He added that the capital plan considers using $500,000 a year surplus from the general fund to pay for these projects.

Purcell also mentioned that some of the general fund revenues are coming in seven percent less than they were a year ago.

"To count on that money, it's just a projection," Purcell said. "At the end of the year could we come in better? We could."

Board member Amy Cesich commented that going over the capital plan was good for the newer board members. She pointed out that the plan also doesn't include emergency projects that the county might have to do in the coming years.

"I think that our thoughts on doing that capital plan was to know exactly where we were with these capital projects, and what did we foresee coming ahead," Cesich said.

She said most of the department and offices heads knew the capital plan couldn't fund everything but that having these conversations at committee level allowed them not to be "blindsided" by choices that are being made.

"John has done a really great job with that (committee)," she added.

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