Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



County cuts to raise fees, and inconvenience

Thursday, February 01, 2007
Pioneer Press
by JOHN HUSTON Staff Writer

Inconvenience will be the most identifiable effect of Cook County's 17 percent across-the-board budget cuts aimed at removing excess and saving "core missions," officials say.
Some fees will be raised, such as those for residents to obtain copies of birth, death and marriage certificates through the Clerk's office, as well those for Internet transactions with the Recorder of Deeds.
But in general, officials say the main cost to the public associated with preventing a property tax increase will be longer lines and slower services.
Both the Health Services and State's Attorney's departments will see large appropriations cuts and have threatened that services will be lost.
Todd Stroger, the Cook County board president, whose responsibility is to propose a budget each year for the County Board to adopt, presented the 1,000-plus page document to commissioners on Jan. 16.
"The president is presenting a budget that focuses on core missions," said Stroger's budget director Donna Dunning.
In the health services bureau, a $103 million appropriations cut will result in the closing of 16 of 26 clinics, said interim director Robert Simon.
"Clinic hours will increase and patients will be asked to be transferred," Simon said.
Another consolidation will be housing all childbirths at Stroger Hospital, he said.
Expectant mothers will be moved "either by car or by ambulance, as needed, from Provident to Stroger Hospital," Simon said.
Simon has shared the podium with Stroger to announce the budget cuts, having been appointed after the new president took office in December, but the county's State's Attorney, Richard Devine, has publicly opposed proposed cuts in his department.
The State's Attorney's office stands to lose $9.4 million in appropriations as part of the proposed budget - moving from $99.8 million last year to a proposed $90.4 million in 2007.
Devine's spokesman, John Gorman, said there will be about 100 prosecutors and another 100 investigators and support staff that will be eliminated to meet the budget.
"This would reduce us to a level where we'd spend less time with victims, less time with witnesses, less time reviewing cases," Gorman said.
Illogical
He said it is illogical to cut each county department by an equal proportion.
"The state's attorney has said all along that across-the-board cuts do not take into consideration what each office does and the unique duties and responsibilities each department has," Gorman said. "It doesn't set priorities, it just sets a number. It's a simplistic way (to do a budget)."
Alongside the staff reductions, five "community prosecutor" offices, one in Maywood and four in Chicago, will be closed as a result of the budget cuts.
County Clerk David Orr is responsible for holding suburban elections, maintaining vital records and processing tax levies to local governments.
The appropriation for his office in the proposed budget was a $4.7 million cut over what it got last year.
Orr said his office doesn't offer inessential service to cut, but can increase fees in order to make up for the budget cut.
"Hopefully in our case it won't affect (the public) too much," Orr said. "We don't have what you call much fat in our office."
He expects to phase out 27 positions by December 2008, and "targeted layoffs" may need to be implemented.
"The challenge is that's still going to require a reduction of staff in an office that is already in a shortage of people," he said.
To offset additional staffing cuts, a $3 fee increase will be imposed for copies of birth, death and marriage certificates - from $10 to $13 - which is expected to generate an additional $1.1 million in revenue.
Not a tax hike
Orr said fee increases do not conflict with Stroger's intention to stop tax increases, whether property or sales taxes.
"That is something for people that use the services," Orr said. "I think the public appreciates that, as opposed to a sales tax which affects poor people the most."
Eugene Moore, Recorder of Deeds, said no services will be cut from his department either, but the cost for Internet transactions will double, from 50 cents to $1.
Of the approximately 250 positions in his department, 28 will be eliminated - about half of which are already vacant, he said.
To meet the $2.5 million cut in appropriations in Stroger's proposed budget, Moore's office is considering imposing 10 furlough days, which would save nearly $500,000, he said.
"I think it's better to do it that way than to lay them off," Moore said, before pledging to include himself.
"Management will included in the furloughs," Moore said. "I'm included in the furloughs."
Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Circuit Court, said operations at the county's five suburban courthouses will be slower, but does not forecast doom on the judicial process.
"The average citizen will begin to notice slower processing of paper work filed and/or cases filed in the courtroom," Brown said. "We are asking the citizens of Cook County for patience as we service them in the most efficient and effective manner."
Seasonal summer positions will be eliminated, as well as an unidentified number of vacant full-time positions.
James Houlihan, County Assessor, said the biggest result of a proposed $4 million cut in appropriations to his office this year will be in public outreach.
"These cuts will have a drastic impact on what we're trying to do with peoples' understanding of property tax," said Houlihan, whose staff hosted 320 tax seminars last year throughout the county, gaining a total attendance of 70,000 people.
About 100 jobs in his office will be cut - 60 workers and 40 vacant positions - as well as closing branch locations in the five suburban courthouses.
Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, whose appropriations stand to lose $1.2 million in the budget proposal, said she will not argue over the cuts.
"I am not going to get into a fight with anybody," Pappas said. "I've been around 16 years. I've sat on that board. So my point of view is different. I know what it's like to go through a budget cycle."
Her philosophy will be to keep her head down.
"I'm just going to keep delivering services and automate," Pappas said, alluding to a plan to make automating her office in order to make it "paperless."
The project will make it more efficient and will allow 17 positions to be trimmed, she said.
"Fewer people means the ones who stay work harder," Pappas said, but an automated and paperless treasurer's office would run quicker and better for those seeking its services.


Recent Headlines

Illinois Land Title Association Granted Summary Judgment in Case against Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Illinois State Bar Association

Grand Jury Indicts Debt Collector of Bribing Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown
Friday, March 15, 2019
WBBM Chicago

Indictment: Cook County's hired debt collector charged with bribing county officials to secure county contract
Friday, March 15, 2019
Cook County record

Karen Chavers Honored as 2019 Unsung Heroine
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Pappas to announce deadline for Cook County property owners to pay late taxes
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Courts Cause Confusion For Woman Trying To Resolve Her Case
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
CBS Chicago

Census changes raise fears of Illinois undercounting
Monday, March 11, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Sheriff Warns of Apple Phone Scam
Monday, March 11, 2019
WTTW News

Caller poses as Apple to get victims personal info in scam targeting Cook County residents
Monday, March 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

Should Young Adults Be Sent To Juvenile Courts?
Sunday, March 10, 2019
NPR Radio

Cook County Jail hires 2nd consecutive mental health professional as warden
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawsuit: Sheriff jailed dozens because of faulty electronic monitoring devices
Monday, March 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Woman dies while in custody at Cook County Jail
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Fox 32

City considers landmarking old Cook County Hospital
Friday, March 01, 2019
Gazette Chicago

Judge: State constitution doesn't force Cook County to spend $250M more on roads, transport projects
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Cook County Rrecord

City Club of Chicago: Cook County Housing Authority Executive Director Richard Monocchio
Thursday, February 28, 2019
WGN Chicago

Illinois hospitals seek reform of Medicaid managed care system
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Effingham Daily News

Cook County Juvenile Court Clinic’s Annual Report
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Glenview open house a 'one stop service' for new, existing residents to learn about town offerings
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Glenview Announcements

Here's how much more south suburban homeowners pay in taxes
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP