Cook County 2023 Budget Hearings Begin with Commissioners Focusing on Oversight Of ARPA and Equity Fund Spending
Cook County Finance Committee Meetings on the Budget
October 24, 2022, 10 am to 12:30 pm
During the overview of the proposed 2023 budget by the Bureau of Finance and the presentation concerning the Offices under the President, Commissioners Daley, Degnen, Gainer, and Miller focused on the need for an independent evaluation of the programs being funded by the Equity Fund (funds from the County) and by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA funds from the Federal government). The Commissioners suggested regular meetings (quarterly or every two months) to get status reports and to have opportunities for the public to weigh in. The Commissioners noted that the $1 Billion in ARPA funds provides the County with an unprecedented opportunity to make lasting positive changes. But the Commissioners said that there will undoubtedly be ways to improve and the County needs to identify those sooner rather than later. In that regard, Commissioner Degnen suggested there might be a possible budget amendment to add 1 to 2 FTEs to the County Auditor department.
Bureau of Finance/Budget Overview - Presented by Interim CFO Lawrence Wilson, Budget Director Annette Guzman, and Deputy CFO Dean Constantinou.
Overall budget is $8.75 B (including Capital and Grant funds)
The General Fund portion of the Overall budget of $1.97B is slightly less than 2022. The projected increase in sales tax revenues partly offsets the transfer of Transportation Home Rule Taxes from the General Fund to a Special Purpose Fund and the transfer of Canabis Taxes to the Equity Special Purpose Fund.
The Health Enterprise Fund portion of the Total Overall Budget is $3.99 B. a 3% increase over 2022.
There are also Special Purpose Funds that make up the Overall Budget. The presentation focused on 4 of these:
The County is doing long-term fiscal planning, and projections thru 2027 are that the General Fund revenues are expected to keep pace with expenses and that the Health Fund revenues will be just short of expenses.
Under the County’s Fund Balance Policy, the County is using the amount in excess of 3 months of General Fund expenditures to assign $231 M to the Pension Stabilization Fund, Self-Insurance Fund Reserve, Cook County Health Reserve Fund, the Infrastructure and Equipment Fund, and the Equity Fund, along with $30 M to spend in 2023 in the General Fund.
The County is also starting to plan for how to determine what ARPA funded programs should continue after 2026 and how to fund them.
Offices under the President - Presented by the President’s Chief of Staff, Lanetta Haynes Turner
The Offices include the
Office of the Public Administrator - Presented by the Public Administrator Louis G. Apostol
Observer - Priscilla Mims
Cook County Board Committee Meetings
October 19, 2022
Note: All items approved in Committee are expected to be passed at the Oct. 20 meeting by the Full Board concurring with the recommendations of the Committees.
Business & Economic Development Committee
Technology & Innovation Committee
Emergency Management & Regional Security Committee
Observer: Priscilla Mims
Cook County Board: Health & Hospital Committee Meeting
October 18, 2022
The following reports were received and filed:
Items to watch in the future:
Observer: Susan Avila
Cook County Board - Criminal Justice Committee Meeting
September 21, 2022
Big controversy over Cook County Court use of SCRAM devices
Lots of contradictory points were made by justice groups, public defender office, and some Commissioners vs. the Chief Judge’s Office regarding the Court use of SCRAM ankle bracelets for DUI and other alcohol-related defendants. These devices measure perspiration to determine if the offender has consumed alcohol. The wearer is to avoid all alcohol consumption.
Points made by Jim Anderson, CFO of Chief Judge Office:
1. condition of probation
2. in bond court as a condition of release
3. plea deal to avoid the charge of DUI being on the defendant’s record
Points made by justice groups and some commissioners:
Cook County Board - Pension Committee
September 21, 2022
A steady depletion of assets in Retirement Funds for CC and FPD despite a great investment year (2021)
Observer: Karin Hribar
COOK COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONER’S MEETING
September 22, 2022
During new business, commissioners were asked to suspend the rules to take up fourteen  new items. The rules call for new items to be deferred to committee for consideration if the item or items have been introduced less than 48 hours before the Board meeting. Commissioner Gainer supported by Commission Sean Morrison noted that several of these items were not emergencies and were for expenditures totaling around $40 million dollars. Commissioner Gainer noted that it seems to be circumventing the Board’s procedure for referring new items to committees. Commissioner Morrison agreed and said that, in particular, items with an RFP process should go to committee. Notwithstanding these objections, nine of the resolutions were passed and five were referred to committee.
No action was taken on the ordinance amendment that would limit public testimony to 60 min. #22-4697 or #22-3155 proposed changes to ethics rules to align them with the new IL law.
In addition, the Board approved the following items approved in prior Committee Meetings:
Finance Committee meeting of Sept. 21:
Legislation & Intergovernmental Relations Committee meeting of Sept. 21:
Public Speakers included:
Observer: Diane Edmundson
Individual authors are credited at the end of each post.