Preckwinkle Delivers Proposed Budgets for the County and Forest Preserve District
In October, Cook County President, Toni Preckwinkle, announced her $6.2 billion county budget. Her proposal does not include any new taxes or fees. The deficit was the smallest Preckwinkle has faced since assuming the reins of the county; however, she warns that next year’s budget may not be as rosy given rising costs associated with the Health and Hospital System. Preckwinkle’s proposal increases spending to the tune of $260 million primarily for new positions in the State’s Attorney, Clerk of the Circuit Court, and Chief Judge’s Office.
Preckwinkle’s spending plan is expected to face little opposition.
On the note of little opposition, after removing a proposed property tax increase from consideration, Preckwinkle’s Forest Preserve District’s proposed 2020 budget is expected to face little controversy. Her $125 million proposal includes $23 million for the Brookfield Zoo and Chicago Botanic Garden, both of which are located on Forest Preserve land. Preckwinkle’s proposal is a four percent increase from last year.
Preckwinkle’s proposal includes no layoffs but acknowledges the District’s efforts to reduce costs by eliminating landline phones and outsourcing campground management and room rentals. In addition, District non-tax revenue, including new concession opportunities and fee structures, including picnic permits, pools and campgrounds, has increased since fiscal year 2014. The District has also raised more than $16 million in grants and is enjoying fundraising success through the Foundation.
The budget proposal is also expected to face little opposition.