Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

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.

   
  The Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trade 60% of the world futures contracts.
   
     
     
     



A "Yes" Vote for the 2016 Budget of the Cook County Forest Preserve and a Warning for 2017

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Special to suffredin.org

Today I voted for the 2016 budget of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County that is essentially the same as last year. This budget is the best we can do now, but it is a budget that revels the structural weakness of the "Non-Home Rule" Cook County Forest Preserve District. Unlike Cook County which is a "Home Rule" government, the Forest Preserves can only raise operating funds through property taxes that are capped; fees from earned services i.e. camp ground rentals, golf fees; and fines from those abusing our public lands through unlawful acts. These sources of income are all limited and are not adequate to properly fund essential activities. This is the last year that a flat budget makes sense. Our duty as the largest preservation land owner in the State requires better resources.

This budget received positive comments through two public hearings with the strongest support coming from various citizens who use the Forests for recreation, restoration and educational activities. These citizens are the secret funding source of our Forest Preserves because they provide thousands of volunteers to augment our small staff. Our Master Stewards work with our staff to ensure essential land protection projects happen. Unfortunately, we are only able to perform these projects on a very small percentage of our nearly 70,000 acres.

This Budget provides:

1.Limited support and encouragement for our volunteers;

2.Limited resources for our staff;

3.Limited restoration opportunities for our land;

4.Limited strategies to acquire additional land;

5.Improvements in recreational opportunities; and

6.Expansion of intern opportunities.

This Centennial year of the Forest Preserve District has seen a dramatic increase in attendance at our Forest Preserves and a better public awareness of our mission to protect the land for future generations. This Budget is the first to have input from the Conservation Council appointed and approved last year. Lead by Chair Wendy Paulson, this Council is giving us the vision necessary to see what we need to do to protect and enhance the land. The Council's volunteer members have called for further actions that are not funded in this budget.

The Budget continues our support of the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Brookfield Zoo, but at levels that have not increased in 20 years. These two jewels anchor our outreach and educational programming. Neither the Garden nor the Zoo can continue their level of excellence without increased funding. The need to develop plans to help the Garden and the Zoo expand their positive programming and to provide further opportunities to improve our land will require dynamic new ideas before next year's budget.

Finally, this budget does not address the major governmental issue facing our state - pension payments. While the Forest Preserve pension fund is smaller than most other governments and is better managed, it still needs a strategy for future viability.


As I vote "yes" on this maintenance budget, I realize significant planning is necessary for the 2017 budget. If we don't show bold leadership on the 2017 budget, we will fail those who created this Forest Preserve District and those who have the vision to see how to actively protect our land.



Recent Headlines

County watchdog: Police sergeant violated sexual harassment policy, employee misused time off for Jamaican vacation
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

What I learn when I have lunch at Cook County Jail
Monday, October 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

County officials say pension board’s proposed fix would cost an extra $267 million
Monday, October 14, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Trump policy targeting immigrants who use safety net services blocked by federal court in Illinois
Monday, October 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Unveils FY2020 Executive Budget Recommendation
Monday, October 14, 2019
Chicago Defender

Criminal justice reformers are making the case to end cash bail in Illinois
Sunday, October 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Expungements, tax appeals will cause hiring spree as overall Cook County jobs decline
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Daily Herald

Cost to Cook County to clear pot records: $700,000
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

No New Taxes in Cook County Budget
Thursday, October 10, 2019
WTTW News

Inside the 2020 county budget Preckwinkle unveils today
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

League of Women Voters of Illinois Executive Director appointed as Chair of the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Chicago Defender

No layoffs or tax hikes in Preckwinkle’s $6.1B county budget — but also no pot revenue or gambling jackpot
Wednesday, October 09, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Graduate Hotel coming to Evanston
Tuesday, October 08, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Promising no tax hikes, Preckwinkle angles for no-drama 2020 county budget
Tuesday, October 08, 2019
The Daily Line

Metra revs up capital spending wishlist amid ‘unprecedented’ gush of state funding
Tuesday, October 08, 2019
The Daily Line

North-suburban assessments could mean for break homeowners, ‘straight-up terror’ for commercial owners
Monday, October 07, 2019

Federal monitor: Kaegi not on ‘effective path’ to end oversight of assessor’s office hiring
Monday, October 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lightfoot, Preckwinkle Clash Over Metra Electric Proposal
Wednesday, October 02, 2019
WTTW News

With census worries looming, Chicago and Cook County beef up counting efforts
Tuesday, October 01, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Jail Inmates Have Been Escaping From Restraints, Using Them As Weapons On Transport Buses
Tuesday, October 01, 2019
CBS Chicago

all news items

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