Robert Sauceda's first report as Kane County's interim animal control director was a smooth and friendly affair.
Sauceda did his part by announcing good news: The facility will be able to catch up on its mortgage payments to the county's general fund by Nov. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
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"We're very excited about that. We'll start Dec. 1 on fresh footing," Sauceda told the county board's public health committee Tuesday.
Under the monthly report, Sauceda said comparing year-to-date figures from 2012 and 2013, expenses are down $51,198, and that revenue has been increasing. The department has collected more than $74,000 in animal registration and immunization fees year to date, compared to less than $6,000 year-to-date in 2012, according to his presentation.
Sauceda was the animal control facility's billing manager for 10 months. The board named him interim director Nov. 12 for a one-year term, or until the county finds somebody more qualified. That's not likely to happen since County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen has said he doesn't intend to advertise for a director as long as Sauceda wants the job.
Lauzen tried last December to have Sauceda appointed as animal control director. The board rejected that, as some members said they wanted to avoid the appearance of political cronyism. Sauceda, a South Elgin village trustee, had campaigned with Lauzen in 2012 on the "Reform Kane" slate.
"Thank you for putting your trust and faith in me for the next year," Sauceda said in addressing the committee.
After the meeting, Sauceda said "the ups and downs have been a huge growing experience" over the past year.
"It's time to buckle down," he said.
He said he would like to increase the animal control facility's public education efforts. Sauceda said when a new county computer system comes online in January the office will be able to process registrations and fees digitally instead of having to enter them manually. That will free up office staff to concentrate more on customer service.
He attributed better collection numbers to "simple business practices," including sending reminders each month to veterinarians who have not passed along the county fees they collect. In the past, Sauceda said, some veterinarian offices would send in the registration certificates regularly, but delay submission of the fees.