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Preckwinkle, some county officials agree to 16 percent budget cuts

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Chicago Tribune
by Hal Dardick

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today lined up a host of county officials who have agreed to slash their budgets for next year by 16 percent, but conspicuously absent were the sheriff, Circuit Court clerk and state’s attorney.

Officials at the independent Cook County Health and Hospitals System, which accounts for about a third of the overall budget, have come up with a plan to comply.

Other officials who have agreed are Assessor Joseph Berrios, Treasurer Maria Pappas, Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore and the two sitting Board of (Tax) Review commissioners. Chief Circuit Court Judge Timothy Evans and Clerk David Orr, meanwhile, said they are working to find ways to comply.

“We think we are going to be very close,” said Orr, an elected government official for nearly four decades. “I’ve had to do a lot of things in government, and this is really, really tough.”

Preckwinkle, who took over her new office last week, says the county is facing a budget shortfall of more than $480 million. She has given all 11 other countywide elected officials until tomorrow to find ways to cut 16 percent from their annual budget and expects to do the same.

She must make a budget proposal and get it approved by the board by the end of February.


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