Unincorporated Cook County Glossary

Below is a list of terms commonly used in the Civic Federation's Unincorporated Cook County report.

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 Illinois Municipal Code (See 65 ILCS 5/ Illinois Municipal Code).

Equalized Assessed Value
Or EAV, is the taxable value of real property.

Housing Choice Voucher
The housing choice voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.

The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects.

Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies (PHAs). The PHAs receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program.

A family that is issued a housing voucher is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of the family's choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program. This unit may include the family's present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by the PHA.

A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the PHA on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.

Housing unit
A house, an apartment, a mobile home or trailer, a group of rooms, or a single room occupied as separate living quarters, or if vacant, intended for occupancy as separate living quarters. Separate living quarters are those in which the occupants live separately from any other individuals in the building and which have direct access from outside the building or through a common hall. For vacant units, the criteria of separateness and direct access are applied to the intended occupants whenever possible. (See U.S. Census glossary.)

The International Building Codes
Are building standards based on best practices within the construction industry and are developed by the International Code Council. All fifty states have adopted the International Building Codes. (See International Code Council website.)

Are cities, villages and incorporated towns.

Unincorporated Areas
Are not located within the corporate boundaries of a municipality. Municipal-type services in these areas are provided by County governments.

Is a defined piece of real estate.  Each parcel in Cook County is assigned a property index number or PIN. The PIN is a unique 14-digit number that represents that parcel of land for taxation purposes. The PIN is actually a numerical code for the legal description of the parcel, as that parcel has been defined for the purposes of real estate taxes. The formatted code points to the parcel's location on the county tax maps. (See Cook County Clerk.)

Property tax rates
Are determined by dividing a government’s levy by its EAV (Levy / EAV = tax rate); the rate is then applied to individual parcels to generate a tax bill. The greater the amount of EAV is, the lower the tax rate will be. Consequently, the tax bill also will be lower.

Are political subdivision of the State of Illinois; 85 of Illinois 102 counties operate under the township form of government and the State’s 1,431 townships serve more than 8 million citizens.  Cook County townships are charged with two basic functions: 1) general assistance for the indigent and 2) maintenance of all roads and bridges outside federal, state, and other local jurisdiction. (See Township Officials of Illinois.)

Units of local government
Are counties, municipalities, townships, special districts, and units, designated as units of local government by law, which exercise limited governmental powers or powers in respect to limited governmental subjects, but does not include school districts. (Illinois Constitution Article VII, Section 1.)

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