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County aims for transparency with budget process

Cook County Court House and government offices
Cook County Court House and government offices

Cook County staff and elected officials say they are striving to make the budget process as open and accessible to citizens as possible this year. During an event Tuesday at the Cook County Courthouse, members of the budget committee and County Administrator Jeff Cadwell discussed the upcoming budget process, goals for this year and key factors that impact the budget.

After large increases in the 2018 property tax levy to balance the budget, the county’s goals are to develop a sustainable budget with modest increases that support an appropriate service level and allow for financial planning for the future to avoid relying on fund balance, according to county officials.

Some key dates moving forward in this year’s budget process include:

--Departmental budgets will be addressed at county board meetings Aug. 14 and 21, and the Cook County Public Health & Human Services budget will be reviewed Aug 28.

--Town hall meetings will be scheduled between Aug. 15 and Sept. 15. 

--The board will be setting the preliminary levy and setting a date for the Truth in Taxation meeting Sept 25.

--A final levy and budget need to be approved before Dec. 31.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Cadwell about Tuesday’s event at the courthouse and this year’s budget process.