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Park Ridge skeptical of county services plan

Tuesday, August 06, 2013
Chicago Tribune
by Jon Davis

Cook County is exploring whether to outsource services to its unincorporated areas to nearby municipalities, and Park Ridge is willing to cast a skeptical ear. Mayor David Schmidt told aldermen Monday night he would attend a lunch meeting this week with his colleagues from Des Plaines, Glenview and Niles, and the county's point man on this project, to hear what the county wants to do. "It looks like what they're asking is for us to take over providing the services" like police coverage, home inspections and zoning, said Schmidt, who made clear his "high skepticism of the entire arrangement." Maps Park Ridge, IL, USA Ads by Google "When I asked them who is going to pay for these services, I got the email equivalent of a blank stare," he added. The meeting was in response to a July 17 note from King Harris, co-chair of the county's Task Force on Unincorporated Land, to discuss the feasibility of the four suburbs taking over code and law enforcement and construction permitting in Maine Township's unincorporated areas. The task force issued a report April 30, 2012, recommending as an "aspirational, long-term goal" that the county's remaining unincorporated land be annexed by adjacent municipalities. While the 62 square miles of unincorporated land are scattered across Cook County, Maine and Northfield townships have the biggest slice of the unincorporated population — 40,000 of the 110,000 outside municipal boundaries. In his July 17 note, however, Harris acknowledges the suburbs' lack of interest in annexing unincorporated areas but seeks feedback on the potential for "intergovernmental agreements" that could hand those tasks from the county to the communities. "To be quite frank, we are not sure whether intergovernmental agreements and the transfer of authority to address key problems will work from an economic point of view," his note states. "What will it cost you to take over code enforcement, construction permitting and law enforcement functions in the unincorporated land nearest your community? Could the county provide the funding to make this possible? Is any kind of cost sharing possible for some or all of these functions? We feel that it is in the county's interest and your interest, too, to know the answers to these questions." Schmidt and Ald. Nicholas Milissis, 2nd, was to join Des Plaines Mayor Matthew Bogusz, Niles Mayor Andrew Przybylo and Glenview Village President Jim Patterson at the meeting. Schmidt said he would report back to the City Council either Aug. 12 or Aug. 19.


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