Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

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 Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.
   
     
     
     



Big government for a little nuisance
Salary and pension costs sting taxpayers

Sunday, June 24, 2012
Chicago Tribune

Experts agree: The best way to avoid mosquitoes is to wear insect repellent and dump the containers of standing water where they breed.

So please enlighten: Why, again, do we need four separate taxing bodies in Cook County alone to control the mosquito population?

Here are a few guesses. One is accurate:

• Mosquitoes are ruthless and formidable, requiring aPentagon equivalent to combat them.

• The other taxpayer-funded entities that also fight skeeters — city, county and state health departments — can't do the seasonal job by themselves. Be reasonable.

• Any opportunity to preserve government largesse, taxpayer-funded payrolls and unaffordable pension benefits is what we in Illinois call "bleeping golden."

You guessed right! Door No. 3!

Which essentially explains why Cook County taxpayers fund four mosquito abatement districts: North Shore, Northwest, Desplaines Valley and South Cook. Together, they collect about $10 million in property tax revenue annually, most of which is spent on salaries and benefits. (For the employees, not the mosquitoes.)

Take the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District. Last year it appropriated $355,700 for mosquito-fighting supplies and equipment. But the district set aside $659,341 for salaries, $89,500 for pension contributions and Social Security, and $227,500 for insurance and bonds, according to the district's annual report.

The South Cook district made $205,872 in pension contributions on behalf of its nearly two dozen employees last year.

Who knew mosquitoes could be stewards of job retention and hearty pensions?

But why stop there? The potential for ticks and wasps to spur government intervention, more spending and job growth is limitless. In fact, the number of people in the United States who die each year from bee stings is nearly double the number of deaths from West Nile virus. Somebody, quick! We need a dozen Chicago-area bee extermination districts with boards, staff and — of course — pension plans.

You grin? That's how we got where we are. Public referendums created mosquito abatement districts in the 1920s after several outbreaks of malaria. The taxpayer-funded brigades managed to stay in business ever since. In DuPage County, 45 separate government bodies provide mosquito abatement services such as spraying and larvae control. DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin is working to mitigate that tax-sucking overlap. We'd like some leadership in Cook County too.

Fear of West Nile tends to prop up this continued existence of abatement districts, although there's little proof their techniques actually reduce West Nile deaths. Most people who die of the virus have compromised immune systems. Experts blamed a 2002 West Nile spike on travel patterns of infected mosquitoes that moved through the Midwest that summer. Despite layers of mosquito control, 67 people in Illinois died. But deaths attributed to West Nile returned to the single digits for most of the last 10 years.

While tests this month established that a crow in Champaign County died of West Nile, and mosquitoes in several Chicago suburbs tested positive for the virus, the data hardly justify the superfluous government oversight and expense. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports only one human case nationwide so far this year.

So as they hunt for ways to shrink government and economize — They're doing that, right? — Illinois lawmakers have one easy knockout punch. Get rid of these districts and leave mosquito control to the other government entities we're already being taxed to support — and to all of us. The best prevention, after all, comes in an over-the-counter spray can.




Recent Headlines

Why some Cook County voters are still waiting for mail-in ballots
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Daily Herald

Editorial: Impact of COVID-19 emphasizes role of ACA in Cook County budgeting
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Daily Herald

Cook County tosses ‘lifeline’ to needy residents, opening housing voucher waiting list for first time since 2001
Monday, October 19, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: COVID-19 cases on the rise in long-term care facilities; applications open for relief fund for restaurant workers
Monday, October 19, 2020
Chicago Tribune

For first time in nearly 20 years, Cook County opens suburban housing voucher waitlist. At least 10K people already applied.
Monday, October 19, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Preckwinkle balances the county’s COVID budget. Next up, Lightfoot.
Monday, October 19, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Gov. J.B. Pritzker blames President Trump and his allies for coronavirus spike in Illinois
Sunday, October 18, 2020
Chicago Tribune

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle outlines $6.9 billion budget plan: ‘This pandemic has dealt Cook County and its residents a catastrophic blow’
Friday, October 16, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle touts restorative justice in budget that slashes court, jail funding: ‘We cannot police our way out’
Friday, October 16, 2020
The Daily Line

‘We Are In a New Wave of COVID-19’: Pritzker
Friday, October 16, 2020
WTTW News

Everything You Need To Know About Voting Drop Boxes In Illinois
Friday, October 16, 2020
WBEZ News

Pritzker Extends Ban on Evictions for 7th Month
Friday, October 16, 2020
WTTW News

Pritzker to extend eviction moratorium another 30 days: ‘Nothing really has changed’
Friday, October 16, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Record-high Illinois COVID-19 caseload, hospitalizations and positive test rate rising: ‘We are in a new wave
Friday, October 16, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

A Cook County budget built to ‘weather the storm’ — but the rain had better be moving on
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Layoffs, cutting vacant jobs all part of Preckwinkle’s $6.9 billion budget plan to ride out COVID-19 storm
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

6 more Cook County chief judge’s office employees test positive for COVID-19
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Fox 32 Chicago

Preckwinkle's good-news budget: No tax hikes, minimal layoffs
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Politicians renew call to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day
Monday, October 12, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

13 more deaths, 2,742 new cases reported as Illinois’ coronavirus positivity rate ticks upward
Monday, October 12, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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