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  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.

Sales tax rollback dies in committee

Wednesday, March 03, 2010
by Alex Parker

It’s unlikely we’ve heard the last of the sales tax debate. But for now, the sales tax is staying right where it is.

Commissioner Tony Peraica’s bid to axe the remaining half-percent of the 2008 sales tax hike was defeated by county commissioners at Tuesday’s board meeting. Commissioners in the finance committee voted 11-6 against the measure.

Voting nay were Commissioners William Beavers, Jerry Butler, John Daley, Bridget Gainer, Joseph Mario Moreno, Joan Patricia Murphy, Edwin Reyes, Deborah Sims, Robert Steele and Larry Suffredin.

Voting aye were Commissioners Forrest Claypool, Liz Gorman, Gregg Goslin, Peraica, Timothy Schneider and Peter Silvestri.

Late Commissioner Hansen honored

Commissioners paid tribute to one of their own, lauding the life and career for former Commissioner Carl Hansen, who died Feb. 2.

Hansen, 83, was a Republican representing the northwest suburbs. He served on the County Board for 36 years, from 1970 to 2006, when he was defeated by Commissioner Timothy Schneider.

He was praised for his debating style and his meticulous record-keeping. He kept every document from every board and committee meeting for his entire career, donating his archives to the county.

“Carl represented the best of representative government,” said Commissioner Peter Silvestri. “He was the best guy to have on your side. He was the worst to have against you.”

“He was a strong voice, and not just for his party,” said Commissioner John Daley. “When he came to this boardroom, he was not a Republican,” but worked for the entire county.

Commissioners said Hansen’s work in protecting the Forest Preserve was his greatest legacy, and Schneider said he’ll introduce a measure today at the Forest Preserve board meeting to rename the Poplar Creek Forest Preserves after Hansen.

“He was the glue that held the northwest suburbs together,” Schneider said, calling Hansen a fiscal conservative and a taxpayer watchdog.

Patient fees down at Oak Forest, Provident

The Cook County Health and Hospitals System’s collected patient fees at Oak Forest and Provident Hospitals are 55 percent lower than expected for the first part of fiscal year 2010, according to a report discussed at the board meeting.

Health system chief financial officer Michael Ayres said the health system’s budget projected too many patient visits, relying on numbers from last year.

Provident has seen 584 fewer patients than projected; Oak Forest has seen 27 fewer patients, he said.

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