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 Cook County Forest Preserve District maintains over 70 miles of bicycle trails.
   
     
     
     



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

Cook County Circuit Court resuming limited in-person operations Monday
Monday, July 06, 2020

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Monday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Monday, July 06, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Lightfoot, senior advocates strike deal on Covid-19 housing protection ordinance
Monday, July 06, 2020
The Daily Line

New flood maps tell us we aren’t doing enough to stop rising waters
Sunday, July 05, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County courts start reopening Monday, with thousands of cases stalled by pandemic. ‘How do you wake the sleeping giant?’
Saturday, July 04, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Board considers nonbinding proposal to shift money from ‘failed and racist’ policing, incarceration systems
Saturday, July 04, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Coronavirus pandemic should spur family talk about financial planning, too
Saturday, July 04, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

COVID-19 Cases Are On The Rise In Some Parts Of Illinois. This Worries Experts.
Friday, July 03, 2020
WBEZ News

Cannabis, gambling taxes to boost county amid long-term budget woes
Thursday, July 02, 2020
The Daily Line

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Thursday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Thursday, July 02, 2020
Chicago Tribune

'Going To Do The Best We Can': Cook County Adjusts Outreach Strategy For US Census Due To COVID-19
Thursday, July 02, 2020
WBBM Radio

Why local school districts are lining up against Fritz Kaegi
Thursday, July 02, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

How COVID-19 threatens health care in Cook County
Thursday, July 02, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County’s new website shows nearly half of census funds spent on advertising, marketing
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest Preserves of Cook County opens more in Phase 4
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Daily Herald

Dart, other county sheriffs demand state prisons start accepting inmates again
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

A COVID-19 surge in your county? New Illinois website offers ways to check.
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Chicago, Cook County, Illinois raise minimum wage Wednesday
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
The Daily Line

Illinois ends June with about half the daily COVID-19 deaths and new cases as in peak month of May
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Kim Foxx confirms office will err on side of dismissing cases related to protests, curfew
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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