November 27, 2012
The Civic Federation supports the Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s FY2013 proposed $190.3 million budget for its discipline in identifying non-tax revenue sources to hold the property tax levy flat for the fourth year in a row while maintaining substantial reserves.
While the District’s overall budget demonstrates continued fiscal discipline, the Civic Federation is concerned about several negative trends threatening the District’s long-term fiscal health. The funded ratio of the District’s pension fund fell to 61.6% in FY2011, now below a financially sustainable level. The pension challenges facing other Illinois governments demonstrate how quickly a negative trend can turn into a crisis.
The full analysis also emphasizes the continued inadequacy of the Forest Preserve District’s governing structure. The Civic Federation first addressed this issue in a 2008 report and continues to urge the creation of a separately-elected, unpaid Forest Preserve Board.