Forest Preserve Advocates Argue for Tax Increase
The Cook County Forest Preserves are again discussing a possible ballot measure to create a sustainable and reliable source of funding.
In November 2022 Cook County voters may have an opportunity to ensure that the Forest Preserves can continue to protect water and air quality and provide opportunities for children with summer jobs and scholarships and exploration places, nature education, and outdoor programs.
The proposal currently under consideration would call for an increase in the Forest Preserves property tax limiting rate. An increase of 0.03 percent above the limiting rate could generate approximately $49.7 million in new revenue in the first year and approximately $1.2 billion over 25 years. This would cost the average homeowner $20 a year. Currently, less than one percent of the property taxes levied on the average home benefits the forest preserves.
Neighboring collar county forest preserve districts have successfully passed referendums to increase and improve their sites; however, Cook County has never done so.
During their July meeting, the Cook County Farm Bureau® Board of Directors opted not to support the referendum and referred the issue to the Governmental Affairs Committee for further discussion and guidance.