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DeKalb County Finance Committee Minutes
February 6, 2013
7 p.m.

PRINTABLE DOCUMENT (.pdf)

 

The Finance Committee of the DeKalb County Board met on Wednesday, February 6, 2013, @ 7:00p.m. in the Administration Building’s Conference Room East. Chairman Stephen Reid called the meeting to order. Members present were Anthony Cvek, Charlie Foster, Julia Fullerton, Misty Haji-Shiekh, Paul Stoddard and Ruth Anne Tobias.

 

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES


It was moved by Ms. Ruth Anne Tobias, seconded by Ms. Fullerton, and it was carried unanimously to approve the minutes from December 5, 2013.


Mr. Cvek said that he wanted to clarify the minutes on the last page where he asked to discuss the public defender’s budget, he did not have any issue necessarily with those funds, it was the process that was the issue. He wanted this reflected in the minutes of this meeting.

 

APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA


Mr. Foster asked to amend the agenda to add contracts discussion. Chairman Reid asked to place this item on the agenda as item #8b.

Mr. Andersen asked to amend the agenda to add an item from the past County Board meeting regarding Expenditures on Capital Projects Resolution. In this resolution it could be mentioned that it would require a public hearing or a public meeting for any project in the excess of $10 million. Chairman Reid said that he would place this on the agenda as item #8c.

 

Mr. Hanson added that as you can add these items to the agenda you cannot take any action on them.


It was moved by Mr. Stoddard, seconded by Ms. Haji-Sheikh, and it was carried unanimously to approve the amended agenda.

 

 

JURY SOFTWARE PROGRAM


Mr. Gary Hanson, DeKalb County Administrator, said that Judge Robin Stuckert is here this evening to request the purchase of software for our Jury Commission.

 

Judge Stuckert passed out paperwork to the committee regarding an optional component to their regular way of communicating with potential jurors. This would help them to communicate via the Internet. There are two proposals on the first sheet of her handout. The first company is IJuror, which is the first program that they would need and then it would interface with MJuror to allow people who have smart phones to be able to have connections that way.

 

What they have been doing in the past is by mail. Last year they sent out over 13,000 questionnaires that were not returned. She said, additionally, any perspective juror gets a questionnaire that they are required to fill out so that when we select a jury, we are reading the questionnaire so that we can find out their background information. Often times they have had questions from people asking why they can’t fill this out on the Internet as it would save them time.

 

Kendall County currently has the first system and they have been using it for the last two years. She has spoken with Chief Judge McCann and he broke down the savings that they have seen over those two years. They are currently going to get the smart phone addition which is around $3,000.00. When she originally spoke with the company it was going to cost DeKalb County around $26,000. She said, however, If we go ahead and order it with Kendall County it will be reduced to around $20,000 - $22,000. The projected savings is $5,141.00 per year. It will take about 4 years to recoup the costs. IJuror will do the maintenance and help instead of our Information Management Office (IMO) staff. Judge Stuckert did mention that the initial mailing of the post card be mailed out and give people the option of how they want to be dealt with. Those who do not want to do it via the Internet they will be doing it the old way, but we will still be realizing a savings just in postage.

 

Mr. Hanson said that this will cost about $22,000, for the acquisition, installation, training and first year maintenance. He is suggesting that it would be paid for through the Special Projects fund.

 

Moved by Mr. Stoddard, seconded by Ms. Tobias, to approve her request.

 

Ms. Haji-Sheikh asked if there is a backup in case systems go down.

 

Mr. Gary Hanson, County Administrator, said that the systems themselves are also backed up.

 

The committee asked if this item is time sensitive to being passed in February.

 

Judge Stuckert said that for us to receive the reduced rate of $20,000 we would need to do it when Kendall County purchases it.

The committee discussed that they would have preferred to receive this document prior to the meeting this evening so that they had time to review the documents.

 

Judge Stuckert said that she will make herself available for the February County Board Meeting.

 

It was carried unanimously to forward this request to the full board for approval.

 

TAX ABATEMENT FOR BONDS


Mr. Gary Hanson, County Administrator, said that the committee will be hearing housekeeping a little bit tonight as there are three items that we send to the board every year.

 

He said the item before the committee is the property tax abatement that would pay off the bond issues that we did in 2005 and the other was done in 2010. When we do the budget in the fall, he anticipates that the County Board will be abating these taxes. If you don’t do this this month the County Clerk will extend the higher level of taxes. The first one is for the Health Facility Bond Issue where those bonds were sold in 1997 and refinanced in 2005. These are paid for through the Nursing Home operations and by a small part by property taxes through Public Health. They will be paid off in 2016 and we are getting very close in paying this off.

 

You will abate almost $400,000 if you forward this resolution to the full board tonight.

 

The second resolution is for the bonds sold for the courthouse expansion and the study for the expansion of the Jail. Those bonds were for $16 million. Those bonds are being retired by the sales tax revenues on the County Farm Property. The amount to be abated for this resolution is $1,146,990.00.

The committee also asked if in the future they could receive this information earlier than the evening of the committee meeting to review it.

 

Moved by Ms. Tobias, seconded Ms. Haji-Sheikh, and it was carried unanimously to forward these two resolutions to the full board for approval.

 

EMERGENCY CLAIMS
Mr. Hanson said that Mr. Frieders brought up, at the last county board meeting, the fact that calling the emergency claims by that name was not a really good term to use. If this committee would like to give them a new name they could do that tonight. They have had instances, for example, where the pay for jurors has come up, or when the community services department right checks from one account to another account to pay for rent charges, and if the County does buy a home, etc.

 

After a brief discussion the committee came up with the name called “Off Cycle” claims as the new name.


It was moved by Ms. Haji-Sheikh, seconded by Mr. Cvek, and it was carried unanimously to change the emergency claims name to “off cycle” claims now.

 

FY2012 YEAR-END BUDGET TRANSFERS


Mr. Hanson said that the Finance Committee will be meeting early the night of the February County Board meeting to forward the housekeeping items from various departments regarding the budget transfers.

 

He passed out a handout to share with the committee of actual budget transfers for informational purposes to prepare them for the special meeting on February 20, 2013, the night of the county board meeting.

 

OPEN SPACE CLASSIFICATION FOR GOLF COURSES
Mr. Cvek asked to have the open space classification for golf courses placed on the agenda because of an article that he had recently read about Kane County and the impact this would have on them. He said that an appellate court decision that altered the way open space is classified as it relates to golf course properties and areas that were kind of accessory structures that are on the golf courses, pools, tennis courts, horse stable facility on one, that are now getting lumped into open space as it is classified. The numbers that were used in Kane County went from almost $1 million collected from the golf courses to about just under $300,000.

 

That money that is not being collected from the golf courses directly is now being diversified and scattered amongst the rest of the people paying taxes. Essentially what it has created is a county club tax exemption. What he had hoped for is that staff could address for us how this would impact us here in DeKalb County and whether or not we want to take official action by putting forth a resolution stating either supporting or opposing the bill to clarify.

 

Mr. Hanson said that we can’t do that tonight because the Supervisor of Assessments could not be here this evening. Ms. Robin Brunschon, DeKalb County Supervisor of Assessments said that she could make your March meeting though, said Mr. Hanson.

Mr. Hanson further stated that Ms. Brunschon did give him a sheet that is attached to his handout this evening which is the bill that has been introduced that is trying to correct that issue. As far as the ramifications, this committee will need Ms. Brunschon here to answer that question. He thought that there may be four or five private golf courses.

 

Mr. Hanson said that Ms. Brunschon will be here for your March meeting and we can place this on the agenda for that meeting. We could send it on to the full board at the March county board meeting if the committee wants to.

 

Mr. Cvek said that he could write the resolution if the committee wanted him to.


Mr. Hanson said yes, if you could write that please.

 

DISCUSSION ON CONTRACTS


Mr. Charlie Foster amended the agenda this evening to discuss a possible review of contracts that were on a list brought up at November 2012 Finance Committee meeting. There are some contracts that have been enforced for a considerable amount of time and we are spending quite a bit of money on them. These are contracts that the County Board has not approved. He would like to put a resolution together so that we could review these more frequently so that new boards could review the contracts that are out there and have some sight of what these contracts are. Mr. Foster continued by stating that as you can see on the list, we have some contracts going back to 2000, 2004, etc. He further stated that the sheet that he is referring to has been made part of our budget. Some of these may have been reviewed, these are the initial dates.

 

The committee briefly discussed this and agreed that the new Finance Director should take this up as a new project to work on.

 

Mr. Foster asked if this item could appear again on the Finance Committee agenda at their March 2013 meeting so that it does not die.

 

Chairman Reid also asked, as a committee, how involved do we want to get in this. Do we trust the staff to do this? Or are we going to get involved and kind of micromanage every department?

 

Mr. Foster said that when you look at this list it is broken down by the committees in place. He would like to see some sort of policy for reviewing contracts so that these contracts aren’t buried for a long period of time.

 

Mr. Hanson said that there are some contracts that the county board does need to have a say so in, such as the outside auditors.

Mr. Foster said that his concern is about the duration of the contracts, tying up future boards and future administration, and big things like the audit and negotiators.

 

Mr. Foster said, so we can forward our thoughts to Mr. Hanson on this subject and reflect it that way and put it on the agenda.

 

CAPITAL PROJECTS DISCUSSION


Mr. Ken Andersen, asked to amend the agenda this evening to speak on Capital Projects. He said that this item comes up every time there is an election and there is still a lot of concern about the Jail and how the whole process came about and how the public has not had a lot of say in the matter. He would like to see a resolution or policy to create a mechanism that would allow all public input short of having a referendum. They could be public hearings, public meetings that we would require for any projects that start at $10 million. This is a figure that he is just throwing out there for an example.

 

It was agreed that this is an item for discussion to place on the Finance Committee’s March 2013 meeting.

 

The committee agreed to adjourn the meeting prior to their tour of the Facility Management Office.

 

ADJOURNMENT


It was moved by Ms. Tobias, seconded by Ms. Haji-Sheikh, and it was carried unanimously to adjourn the meeting.


Respectively submitted,

 

 

 

____________________________________
Stephen Reid, Chairman

 

 

________________________________________
Mary C. Supple, Secretary