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Welcome to the Record Newspapers/Oswego Ledger Kendall County local government newsletter. Each Tuesday and Thursday, reporters Katie Finlon, Shea Lazansky and editor John Etheredge provide exclusive content and commentary on topics and issues involving Kendall County area governmental agencies and the communities they serve.
Hi again, Kendall County! It's me, news reporter Katie Finlon.
I don't know about you, but I'm getting pretty amped for the rest of the week, with the holiday and capitalist consumer activities to follow. For now, though, it's all about catching up on some County Board matters for me – namely, some proposed potential capital projects on the horizon.
Matt Kellogg, Kendall County Board member and chairman for the county finance committee, said during the Nov. 5 County Board meeting (note: I wasn't there due to Yorkville economic development committee meeting coverage on that day) that a few requested items within this year's list include $60,000 for an eye retina scanner for the jail.
Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird said the sheriff's office wanted to have an identification system to minimize possibility of releasing an inmate who was not supposed to be released.
Baird said the requested number came from $25,000 being budgeted for similar purposes last year, but it wasn't used last year because sheriff's officials didn't see the new technology that came out until after money was budgeted last year. He said the office wanted to carry last year's amount over to this year’s budget and add $35,000 to it and get something better security-wise.
“That way, the inmates don’t have anything around their wrist where they could try to work it off and try to put it on another inmate," Baird said.
Baird said another requested item for the capital projects list includes $20,000 to get a new shooting range built for the sheriff's office. That comes after nearby residents voiced noise concerns from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, or BNSF shooting range the sheriff's office uses for training.
Baird had said the sheriff’s office was looking at adjusting hours at the BNSF shooting range. He said the County Board also had approved the sheriff's office using the Oswego Police Department's firearms shooting range, along with several other agencies creating their own similar contracts to use the facility.
Kellogg said other big ticket items include $450,000 for the county office building, including replacing recording equipment and keycard access to the County Board meeting room.
Kendall County Administrator Scott Koeppel said other items include more involved technology projects, including a combined $175,000 for computer network upgrades for the county and $145,000 for updating sheriff's squad car computers to Windows 10 systems to keep up with state cyber security requirements, since Windows 7 is going away permanently.
However, one thing that won't be part of this year's requested capital projects will be breathalyzers for the sheriff's office in light of adult-use cannabis usage becoming legal in the state on Jan. 1, 2020. Baird said any requested money related to that would go toward officer training, since field testing equipment is in testing currently and not accepted by the courts yet.
“We’d really hate to spend that money until we know that what we’re buying is going to be sufficient for us,” Baird said.