Kane County, Illinois

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Kane County is one of 102 counties in Illinois. The county has a population of 511,892.[1]

Website evaluation

Grade2.pngA-
Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Contracts Y
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Lobbying Y
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Public records Y
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Local taxes P
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Transparency grading process


Main article: Evaluation of Illinois county websites

This website was most recently evaluated on November 27, 2012.

The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 8 years.[2]
  • Administrative Officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[3]
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number, and personalized email.
  • Elected Officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[4]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for 16 years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 16 years.[5]
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.[6]
    • Meeting video or podcasts are available.
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 2004 are available.[7]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.[8]
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[9]
  • Public Records
    • The public information officer is identified and maintained by FOIA officers for each department. This person provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.
    • A public records form is provided by the FOIA document.
    • A fee schedule for documents is provided.[10]
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.[11]
  • Lobbying
    • The county discloses it hires lobbyists and the total amount spent on lobbying for 2008-2012.[12]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[13]

The bad

  • Taxes
    • Residents cannot pay taxes online.

Checkbook register

In April of 2009, the county began to post it checkbook register online. It will include department information, account line item charged, a description of expense and the amount spent.[14] “Residents have been scouring their own budgets to make ends meet in this economy – this makes it more convenient to track how their county tax dollars are used as well.” said Karen McConnaughay, Kane County board chairman.[15]

Lobbying

Main article: Lobbying in Kane County, Illinois

Kane County has spent at least $676,674.56 since 2005 on government sector lobbying.

Taxpayer-funded lobbying is the use of public funds by governments to influence other levels of government. Counties, for example, will pay lobbyists to influence the state or the federal government. This type of lobbying is often not disclosed to constituents. Counties hire lobbyists on a contractual basis, have lobbyists on staff, or join groups which promote or oppose legislation on their behalf. Lobbyists also help counties seeking specific projects or appropriations.


Kane County's lobbying consists of 3 contracts with lobbyists, including Illinois Government Consulting Group. It belongs to 6 government sector lobbying associations, including Metro Counties of Illinois.

For more on Kane County lobbying, see the main article.

Lobbying since 2005
$ lobbying total $ Illinois $ federal government $ lobbying groups # lobbying contracts # lobbying groups
$676,674.56 $271,666.56 $300,725.00 $95,017 3 6

Salaries

Kane County salaries are salaries paid to elected officials and county employees. Kane County pays a salary or per diem to 889 full and part time employees, including elected officials. Members of the county board earn between $17,500 to $22,000 annually. The county board chairman earns $95,000 as of |2009.

Pensions

Main article: _(Sunshine_Review)|Illinois Public Pensions

Illinois is facing a crisis with its publicly funded pensions. In 2010 state government was responsible for over $130 billion in pension payments, however they only had $46 billion set aside, which leaves an unfunded liability of about $85 billion.[16] Finding a way to fund that $85 billion will be the focus of the 2011 general assembly. The Pew Center for the States reported that as of 2008, Illinois is one of the worst states at contributing to its pension systems. State lawmakers will consider selling $4 billion of bonds to pay the state's annual payment on the five pension programs it runs.[17] In April, the state legislature created a two-tier system for all municipal and state employees—including teachers and state lawmakers—hired after Jan 1, 2011. Police and fire were included in an earlier draft but removed shortly before the vote. For the others, retirement was raised to 67.[18]

Like the state of Illinois Kane County is also facing some pension concerns. In the 2010 midterm elections, voters in the Kane County municipalities of St. Charles and Wayne approved measures that will tell Illinois lawmakers to give local police and firefighters the same pension benefit rules that state employees enjoy.[19] The Kane County website does not include employees' pension information.

External links

References