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Commissioners set preliminary levy at 19.9 percent

Cook County courthouse
Cook County courthouse

During a meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Sept. 19, the commissioners voted to set a preliminary, or maximum levy for 2018.

The preliminary levy was set at 19.9 percent.  

Board Chair Jan Sivertson made the motion to set the levy at 19.9 percent. It was supported by Commissioners Heidi Doo-Kirk and Ginny Storlie. Commissioners Myron Bursheim and Bobby Deschampe voted against the levy increase of 19.9 percent.

Prior to the vote, the EDA provided an update on their budget request for 2018. The EDA’s request is down for 2018 compared to other years, and includes a variety of different funding requests. The commissioners voted 3-2 to support the EDA budget for 2018, with Commissioners Storlie and Deschampe voting against the motion to support the EDA’s budget.

Following the EDA discussion, County Administrator Jeff Cadwell provided an update to the county board about the budget and levy process. The board discussed funding the public library in Grand Marais, and increases to the library’s health insurance for staff. After agreeing to support the library’s funding request, the board discussed, at length, the preliminary levy and budget options for 2018 and beyond.  

In related news, the following is a statement sent to WTIP from a group calling themselves the “Citizens for an Affordable Cook County” regarding the preliminary levy at 19.9 percent: 

“County budgets should fit within existing revenues. Spending reductions, not tax increases, is the preferred solution to balancing the county's budget.

The fact that overall spending has risen so rapidly (nearly $900,000 from 2017 to 2018) indicates that no serious trade-offs are being made in the budget. In fact, and as anyone who has followed this year's budget process can attest, the opposite is true as this present administration has expanded the scope of local taxpayer funding.

If the administrator and commissioners want new spending, they should find significant savings elsewhere in the budget as true fiscal responsibility relies on achieving a balance between spending restraint and indulgence.”

After the preliminary levy was set at 19.9 percent, a Truth in Taxation meeting was set for Nov. 27 at 6 p.m.