County budget must consider suburbs, too

 
Posted11/16/2011 4:00 AM

On Oct. 25, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle submitted her executive budget recommendation to the county board. By and large, the budget the president submitted was fiscally responsible and took steps in reforming county government and streamlining operations. I applaud the president for maintaining her commitment to rolling back the Stroger sales tax.

Though this budget addressed many of the fiscal challenges facing county government, one of president's proposals -- the proposal to implement "special service areas" for all of unincorporated Cook County -- was not something I could sign onto. Clearly, a proposal this dramatic needs more study, and I relayed those concerns to the president's office. I also asked the administration to reach out directly to residents as well as township supervisors and suburban mayors. To the administration's credit, they took the time to understand the perspective of suburban Cook County residents.

 

I am happy to report that last week the president offered her support to remove the special service areas from the 2012 budget proposal and convene a 13-member task force to examine this issue closer. Members of the task force will include elected officials as well as civic and community leaders from throughout the county. The president has asked me to serve on this task force, and I am proud to do so on behalf of my constituents.

I look forward to working with other task force members to explore cost issues and improve services for my constituents. I look forward to continuing to hear from the people of my district on this and other important issues. As the county looks to pass the 2012 budget later this month, I will continue to ensure that the interests of suburban Cook County residents are reflected.

Timothy O. Schneider

Cook County commissioner

15th District

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