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Proviso Probe

Sunday, February 04, 2007

GOV, Friends of the Forest Preserve object to transfer of money to Cook County

Friends of the Forest Preserve object to Cook County attempting to transfer $11 million from the Forest Preserve District to Cook County's general coffers.

Cook County's position is this money is repayment of a loan.

If forced to transfer the $11 million this would require 25% cuts to the Forest Preserve District, more than the 17% target for the rest of the county. And when I read the Civic Federation study of local government (see Carl Nyberg (Forest Park Review)) I noticed that forest preserve districts have been cut more than any other type of local government in recent years. In 2002 the Forest Preserve District cut payroll from 1,200 positions to less than 500.

From the Friends of the Forest Preserve talking points:
Nowhere in the District's mission does it direct the Commissioners to provide debt relief to the County by robbing District funds. To do so would be a colossal disregard of their fiduciary responsibility as Forest Preserve Commissioners.

After years of hard work and better management, the District has finally reached a point of fiscal health. They are off life support and now years of deferred maintenance must be made up. So what does the board propose to do to reward sound management--strip the District of its funds!! What kind of incentive will that give to department heads in the County to manage their budgets well? It's perverse and it is wrong.

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  • How surprising? Yet another special interest screaming how vital their piece of the pie is to the citizens of Cook County. Hmmm, I guess the Friends of the Forest Preserve didn't have a problem with Cook County loaning it up to $16 million over serveral years ago. Now it's payback time and a few folks are screaming bloody murder. Give me a break! I bet these people will say managing woods is much more important than leaving a health clinic or two open.

    By Blogger Provisoguru, at 9:38 PM, February 04, 2007  

  • First of all, this is a false choice. The Forest Preserve District was forced to streamline through combining departments, privatizing, and cutting patronage jobs after the money came up missing (which some are suggesting went for Stroger Hospital). The District did all of this without having to cut services -- in fact, services improved. The County needs to do this same work -- cut the fat without cutting services.

    Clinics and natural lands are rights that each County citizen has -- separate tax levies. They deserve both.

    Benjamin Cox
    Executive Director
    Friends of the Forest Preservesf

    By Anonymous Benjamin Cox, at 10:30 AM, February 05, 2007  

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