Civic Federation Blog

01.21.15

Cook County Updates Building Codes in Unincorporated Areas

The Civic Federation’s recent report profiling six townships in Cook County with the largest unincorporated population examined issues related to annexing unincorporated areas. The report described the unincorporated areas and identified many of the barriers that municipalities might face if...

01.15.15

Change in Public Pension Plan Investment Return Assumptions 2001-2013

The Civic Federation and IIFS blogs have written extensively about reductions to assumed rates of return on investment by State and some local public pension plans over the last several years. These changes are part of a nationwide trend, influenced partly by the low interest rate environment...

01.07.15

Annexing Areas of Unincorporated Cook County

Annexation is the extension of municipal boundaries into adjacent unincorporated areas and the corresponding expansion of city services to those newly incorporated areas. In Illinois, municipal governments have the authority to determine and expand their boundaries, subject to the provisions of the...

12.30.14

2014 Year in Review on the Civic Federation Blog

The following posts were among the most highly read on the Civic Federation blog in 2014 and represent some of the most closely followed local government issues this year: Illinois General Assembly Passes Pension Reforms for Chicago April 16, 2014 This blog discussed Senate Bill 1922, which was...

12.23.14

The Geography of Cook County’s Unincorporated Areas

Cook County’s unincorporated areas account for 125.8 square miles, or 13.1% of the County’s total land area. (Of that land area, 60.26% is located within a forest preserve.) Residents of these areas rely on the County to provide municipal services such as law enforcement, building and...

12.18.14

Rocco Claps Honored at 23rd Annual Excellence in Public Service Award Breakfast

On December 11, 2014, the Motorola Solutions Foundation and the Civic Federation honored the outstanding public service of Rocco Claps, current Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the longest-serving Director in the agency’s history. The annual award recognizes a non-...

12.11.14

Issues with Annexation of Cook County’s Unincorporated Areas

The Civic Federation’s recent report profiling unincorporated areas in six townships within Cook County examines issues related to annexing unincorporated areas. Based on interviews conducted with various stakeholders involved in a decision to incorporate a previously unincorporated area in...

12.03.14

Measuring the Productivity of the Chicago Transit Authority

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) recently released its FY2015 proposed budget. While the Civic Federation traditionally analyzes features common to all local government budgets, our analyses of the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) budgets include additional productivity measurement data....

11.25.14

A Potential Mental Health Reform Model for Cook County: Saving Money and Improving Outcomes through Coordination in Bexar County

Local governments across the country are searching for ways to more humanely and cost-effectively treat individuals with mental illnesses who come into contact with the criminal justice system. According to a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics from 2006 (the most recent year for which...

11.20.14

How Property Taxes are Distributed in the City of Chicago

The Cook County Clerk’s Office annually releases a tax rate report that provides the tax rates for various taxing agencies within Cook County. It is important for property taxpayers to have an accurate picture of which governments receive their property tax dollars and for what purpose so...