Kane County Animal Control officials renewed a request to put off part of its 2012 debt payment for the pound it runs this week, but county board members aren't inclined to defer the debt for long.
The county board's public health committee approved a plan to defer the payment of $93,458 for this year and 2013. On Nov. 30, 2014 a catch-up payment of $280,374 would be made.
Making the payments on schedule would leave the department with less than three months' worth of cash reserves on hand, according to interim public health director Barbara Jeffers.
Committee member Melisa Taylor was pleased to see the department is no longer asking to have its whole annual payment -- $153,000 -- postponed. That was originally proposed in April, and at that time Taylor was against it. She said the board should wait to see if improvements in the animal control department, such as raising registration fees and improvements in collecting fees, would bring in more money.
Animal Control borrowed $1.5 million in an inter-fund loan to build the animal-control facility in Geneva in 2007.
The department does not receive property tax revenue; the bulk of its income comes from animal registrations and animal adoptions. Now the department wants to increase some of those fees to better position itself to pay back the loan. Those increases are on track to come online in January if approved by the full county board. With the new money coming in, members of the board's finance committee said Wednesday they don't want to wait until the end of 2014 to repay the loan.
"We have other capital commitments," county board member John Hoscheit said. "We set a budget before; they should be able to meet it. A two-year extension? Let's do a one-year extension."
Finance committee members agreed to that plan. If the full county board also agrees, animal control's finances will get re-examined in 2013 to see if the full loan can be repaid.
"The Animal Control Department has to put a lot more efficiencies in place, and that won't happen overnight," Jeffers said this week while presenting the department's 2013 budget.
"Our No. 1 focus in the long run has to be to cover our costs."