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Should Animal Control work on property issues?

Jim Mitchell

Jim Mitchell

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Updated: July 2, 2012 9:40AM

GENEVA — Should Kane County’s Animal Control Department be handling property maintenance complaints?

Kane County Finance Committee Chairman Jim Mitchell, R-North Aurora, posed that question as he shared a list of financial recommendations for Animal Control with the county board’s Public Health Committee on Tuesday.

Mitchell recently met with Finance Department and Animal Control officials to discuss the Animal Control financial situation.

The meeting stemmed from a request by Animal Control to postpone a $150,000 loan repayment due in November for the new Animal Control facility built in Geneva in 2007.

Mitchell suggested that the committee review the request to postpone the payment in October.

“Our intent is not to cripple Animal Control but to make them more self-sufficient,” he said.

Mitchell suggested that the county take another look at some of the work that Animal Control does.

Currently, the department is responsible for handling some of the property maintenance complaints the county receives.

That was set up at the beginning of the economic recession so the county did not have to hire extra personnel in order to take on the complaints, Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert said.

Mitchell said that he did not argue whether the policy was efficient but just did not want to see Animal Control continue to handle these duties with no reimbursement, if the department is to become self-sufficient.

“When we envisioned Animal Control becoming self-sufficient,” he said. “I don’t think we ever envisioned them doing property management.”

Mitchell suggested that either the county stop using Animal Control staff for property maintenance complaints or that it reimburse the department for the time that staff spends doing the work.

He suggested that it also might be against state statutes to use Animal Control funding to support property management inspections.

Kuehnert said that reshuffling the way things are currently done would have an effect on other county departments.

Currently, Animal Control is one of several departments that handle property management complaints. Others include the zoning, health and sheriff’s departments.

The problem is that there is no revenue stream in handling the property management complaints, said committee member Tom Van Cleave, R-Batavia.

“Most of these people are in situations where they don’t have the money to clean up the place, let alone pay a fine,” Van Cleave said.

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