Cook keeps tax levy level
The Cook County Board voted Tuesday to maintain its property-tax levy this year at $720 million, a figure that has remained constant since 1996.
"For 15 years, the county has not changed its tax levy," said President Toni Preckwinkle, saying that was a "matter of pride" for former Cook County Board President John Stroger, who died in 2008. "He kept the tax levy the same in his tenure, and it's something his successors have also committed to."
The county has seen other sources of funding rise and fall to meet its budget, now at $3.1 billion, such as the sales tax, which was hiked and then sliced under President Todd Stroger, but its funding from property taxes has remained level.
The budget approved last month is down from $3.6 billion last year.
Trying to cut costs, the board Tuesday sent to the finance committee a proposal to study a possible plan to reduce the county's 2,000-car fleet through a deal with Zipcar, a shared-car program.
But an ordinance banning raises for any county employee in the first year on the job, proposed by Orland Park Republican Commissioner Liz Gorman and first suggested during 2011 budget hearings, died for lack of a second. "So everybody gets raises this year," Gorman said when the motion died.