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Kane County Moving To Slash Sheriff's Budget

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Kane County Board Finance Committee has voted to cut the sheriff's budget by $225,000, just a part of the amount that will be cut if the sheriff doesn't straighten out an inmate housing situation involving the federal government.

New Kane County Sheriff Don Kramer said staffing issues were the reason he abruptly eliminated a $2.5 million contract with the U.S. Marshals Service to house 43 federal inmates at the county jail.

However, committee Chairman John Hoscheit said now-retired Sheriff Pat Perez never indicated there was a manpower issue, and Kramer could be facing having two and a half million dollars cut from his budget, even though Kramer might try to put that federal program back in place.

"There's no guarantee that that will occur. As I understand it, the inmates have been relocated to other counties who've accepted that revenue stream, and so it may be difficult to bring them back," he said. "If we don't have the revenue stream, we don't have an alternative source for those funds, then only choice we have to remain fiscally responsible is to reduce that corresponding amount from the sheriff's budget."

A spokesman for Kramer said the sheriff has been dealing with the loss of his father, who died last week and who will be buried this weekend, although Hoscheit said the issue came up before the death. Sheriff's spokesman Pat Gengler said top brass at the sheriff's office hasn't had time to talk at length about the Finance Committee's action.

Hoscheit said, when a new jail was being built a few years ago, one of the ways the county agreed to pay for the excess capacity of it was to make space available for other jurisdictions to house prisoners. He said there could be time to resolve the matter before the Kane County Board's next full session in February.


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