January 24, 2011
The Civic Federation supports the FY2011 Forest Preserve District of Cook County budget of $198.0 million, which includes both operating and capital expenditures. The proposed FY2011 budget represents a decrease of $236.3 thousand, or 0.1%, from the FY2010 proposed budget. We commend the District for holding its property tax levy flat at a time when Cook County residents are facing serious economic hardships. The District has also maintained adequate reserve funds per its fund balance policy.
However, the Federation strongly urges support for the creation of a separate Board of Commissioners for the Forest Preserve District. The current board structure that oversees both the District and Cook County results in an unavoidable conflict of interest.
Furthermore, even though the Forest Preserve District of Cook County completed its budget three months ago and is three weeks into the 2011 fiscal year, the dual board of Commissioners that governs both the District and Cook County has taken no action to review or debate the spending plan that was originally introduced in late 2010.
Because the Cook County Board of Commissioners has not yet addressed the needs of the Cook County Forest Preserve District, the Federation is taking the extraordinary measure of releasing its analysis of the District’s budget outside of the traditional public review process.