Kane County's court system might be just a few months from implementing a massive technology upgrade designed to make the wheels of justice turn a bit more smoothly.
The good news for taxpayers is the $6.2 million project cost is about half of what county officials expected.
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A commission that included judges, the circuit court clerk, the state's attorney, the public defender and other facets of the legal system selected Texas-based Tyler Technologies to be the vendor for the new system. The technology will enhance record keeping and sharing capabilities within and among the various judicial and public safety functions in the county.
The current system is so outdated that several functions, including the tabulation of caseloads, are performed by manually counting records. Since some funding the court system receives from the state is based on caseload, the lack of reliable data has meant the county has lost out on more than $150,000.
An initial estimate by a consultant put the cost to replace the system at more than $12 million. That's been a daunting number for a county with officials committed to keeping its portion of the local property tax levy flat. The latest estimate puts the cost at $6.2 million by implementing a system very similar to technology purchased by Peoria County a couple years ago at a cost of about $5 million. Peoria County has about 186,000 residents and Kane County has about 515,000.
The committee of stakeholders has hired another consultant to finalize negotiations with Tyler Technologies. County board members should see a formal proposal and contract within the next 60 days.
Dawson Tyler, an account executive with Tyler Technologies, told board members this week his company has been in business for 30 years and specializes in developing software for public bodies.
"It is our intent at Tyler Technologies for this to be the last purchase for technology that this county will ever have to make," Tyler said.
The $6.2 million includes five years of maintenance. It will take about that long to fully implement the system.