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DeKalb County talk focuses on jail expansion

SANDWICH — Expanding the jail is one of the most important issues facing DeKalb County, County Board Chairman Jeff Metzger told elected officials Thursday.

"We have to do something with the jail," Metzger said. "We're spending a lot of money we could be keeping here in the county."

Metzger spoke for about 15 minutes at the Metro West Council of Government's State of the Counties Luncheon at Best Western Timber Creek Inn and Suites, 3300 Drew Ave., Sandwich. The event included officials from DeKalb, Kendall and Kane counties.

The county board chairmen from the three counties each gave presentations of the state of their counties. All three acknowledged the state deficit has affected them locally.

DeKalb County Board members are exploring hiring an outside consultant to help with the jail expansion, Metzger said.

They plan to use a tipping fees associated with the DeKalb County landfill expansion near Cortland to fund the jail expansion. Board members want to spend only $23 million, less than three budgeting estimates unveiled during an April 30 workshop.

DeKalb County Board members are expected to vote Wednesday on accepting more trash at the landfill starting in August, rather than January. If they started accepted more trash Aug. 1, it would generate about $70,000 a month in tipping fees.

DeKalb Mayor John Rey said the presentations were helpful to see what was happening in nearby counties. Rey said he is already up-to-date with DeKalb County issues but learned about other issues, such as Caterpillar possibly leaving Kendall County.

"It was helpful to hear the three county chairmen speak and elevate the issues in front of each of those individual counties," Rey said.

Metzger also mentioned the success of DeKalb hosting the IHSA state football championships and the Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park near Sycamore, where residents are now meeting with county officials to discuss the value of their homes as they prepare to move out this summer.

County officials reached a deal with property owner Frank Santoro on April 15 to purchase the flood-prone mobile park for $1.47 million. The county will officially buy the park May 30.

Other topics Metzger covered included an $81,000 grant recently awarded to the county's juvenile justice council. He also mentioned a new initiative led by the DeKalb County Community Foundation, called Advancing DeKalb County, that will decide where money should best be spent with nonprofit organizations, Metzger said.

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