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A Yes Vote for Cook County Forest Preserve 2019 Budget and a Renewed Call for a Referendum to Save Our Forest Preserves

Thursday, November 15, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

 

On November 15, 2018, I voted for a maintenance 2019 Cook County Forest Preserve District Budget to protect the work that has been done to protect our land. This budget is a caretaker’s budget that does not address the actual need to protect our land resources.

Our Forest Preserves land survives because of the thousands of hours that our volunteers give to protect our vast and diverse holdings. We all owe these dedicated volunteer workers a thank you for their service.

For the last three years I have stated that the budgets were the best we can do; but we must figure out how to improve. The simple need is to restore the land and for more financial resources to acquire land that is still available.

This Budget is the fourth to have input from the Conservation Council whose role is to help us create a clear vision for the future. The Council has called for the last four years to expand land restoration and land acquisition.

The Budget maintains our support of the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Brookfield Zoo. This funding level is too low to assist either in performing their missions. These two jewels anchor our outreach and educational programming. Neither the Garden nor the Zoo can continue their level of excellence without future increased funding.

I renew my call to trust our voters and ask them to approve a referendum to increase real estate tax funding to do three things: 1. Approve funds to expand restoration services on our land; 2. Acquire additional land while some still exists; and 3. Increase our subsidies to the Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

A referendum is the only way Cook County Forest Preserve District can obtain the funds it needs to fulfill its mission. The earliest a referendum could be held is 2020. We need to trust that our voters will give us wise guidance, so that future generations can enjoy the beauty of our land.



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