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Preckwinkle: Towns should annex unincorporated Cook County

Monday, April 30, 2012
Daily Herald
by Jake Griffin

A task force empaneled by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is calling for municipalities to annex all unincorporated areas of Cook County to save the county money.

Preckwinkle offered no timeline to eliminate the unincorporated areas where roughly 98,000 of the county's 5.2 million residents live. Nor did she estimate what the county would save by no longer having to provide sheriff's patrols and other services to those areas.

Some towns have been reluctant to annex many of these areas in the past because of infrastructure needs or public safety concerns.

During budget hearings last year, Preckwinkle had called for a surcharge of about $150 per household on unincorporated property owners to maintain sheriff's patrols. She backed away from that and instead created the task force that is calling for an end to unincorporated areas.

The task force included officials from county, municipal and township government as well as residents and economic development experts.

“We want to accelerate annexation of these unincorporated areas,” Preckwinkle said. “This will allow for local control over local decisions, which is desirable for a public policy standpoint.”

Hundreds of unincorporated neighborhoods are scattered throughout the county's 945 square miles, but 25 of those parcels account for 86,000 of the unincorporated residents. Preckwinkle said the initial focus will be on getting municipalities to annex some of the smaller lots first.




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