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County Board affirms support for sober living home

Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 11:24 p.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:48 a.m. CST

SYCAMORE – After a failed attempt to amend a resolution, the DeKalb County Board voted in support of a potential DeKalb County Drug Court Sober Living Home.

The house would serve male drug court participants who would be monitored by a house manager and drug court team as they work through the drug court’s five-phase program. As of the meeting, no new properties have been presented to the board by the court.

Anthony Cvek, R-Sycamore, said the resolution to support the facility was written with language that made the idea open ended. He said it was like writing a blank check for the program. Cvek wanted to amend the resolution to read that the appropriation for the project would not exceed $100,000 from the Opportunity Fund.

Board members nixed a previous proposal to purchase a house at 303 Exchange St. in Sycamore because the house was just outside boundaries where the county promised to house its government buildings.

“We’ve discussed this issue at considerable length at several committee meetings,” Cvek said. “Throughout them not yet has a hard and fast proposal for what exactly we’re proposing and the costs associated with it from acquisition to operation has not been presented.”’

The resolution states that the board endorses and supports the DeKalb County Drug Court’s Sober Living Home proposal and approves the general concept of appropriating from the Opportunity Fund for acquiring real estate for a facility. Any properties pursuant to the resolution must be approved by the board. The resolution passed with only two members opposed, and Cvek’s amendment to the resolution was not approved.

“I don’t think it’s fair to the taxpayers or those looking for property to not know what the ceiling is for, which the County Board is willing to bear as for the finances of this project,” Cvek said.

Julia Fullerton, R-DeKalb, said expenditures related to the project would come back to the board for a vote before proceeding.

“I think the time has come to move this forward and allow the judicial circuit to look for a property to operate, what we all agree, is a very good program,” Fullerton said.

Cvek said during the meeting he has never said he opposes the idea but is instead opposed to writing a blank check.

Board Chairman Jeffery Metzger, R-Sandwich, said the board would have the opportunity to turn down any dollar amounts or suggestions that would be brought to the board.

Cvek addressed Metzger about purchasing homes.

“When you’ve gone out to buy a house, I’d assume you just didn’t go out and buy any house and then decide how you were going to pay for it,” Cvek said. “You figured out how you were going to pay for it upfront and then you went out and looked for what you could afford.”

Julia Fauci, D-DeKalb, agreed with Stephen Reid, D-DeKalb, who said the project is money well spent because it will divert people from the criminal justice system, saving money in the long run.

“We are talking about a jail expansion and it’s almost a message to the community that we are there to incarcerate you but we’re not there to help you and keep you from being incarcerated,” Fauci said. “I agree that this is a bit open ended, but what it is is a vote of confidence to a very well-regarded program that we partner with. We partner with loads of other entities and there could be liabilities but we do it nonetheless because there’s such good that comes out of it.”

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