Forest Preserve Ballot Questions offers More Questions than Answers
In November, voters will be asked to approve or deny a property tax increase of 0.025% or less than $1.66 per month for the majority of property owners.
Proponents of the measure argue that the funds are needed to protect, restore, and expand the forest preserves to ensure clean air and drinking water and reduce area flooding. Cook County Farm Bureau® has not joined the “Vote Yes” coalition in support of the property tax increase. At the end of 2021, CCFB Board of Directors opted not to support the referendum due to numerous concerns about the use of the funds.
A stated use of the funds anticipated to be generated is the acquisition of more forest preserve property. The district presently owns 70,000 acres or 11% of all county land. A tremendous number of existing acres is located in north and south Cook County. Due to existing budget limitations, much of the maintenance and restoration of these acres has not been completed. Forgotten land located further from population centers suffer from fly dumping. Fly dumping occurs when individuals intentionally dump rubbish in an unauthorized place, like a forest preserve. Arguably if the land was restored, routinely visited, or patrolled by police officers, fly dumping would not occur. While this situation can be used as an argument to increase funds for the district, it can also be seen as the district already owning more land than they can manage. It can also be seen as the district not prioritizing maintenance when establishing budget priorities.
Members are encouraged to contact Bona Heinsohn at [email protected] with questions or concerns. Additional information about the referendum will also be available in October.