Mid-Year Budget Hearings of the Finance Committee of the Cook County Board
July 17 and 24, 2019
Over these 2 days, the Finance Committee (composed of all 17 members of the Board and chaired by John Daley) met with each elected official, bureau chief and major department head to go over the expected revenues and expenses at the end of the 2019 budget year (Nov. 30, 2019), and what was expected for 2020.
Highlights from these meetings:
Overall: It is expected that the County will end this fiscal year in the black, and no new taxes or fees will be needed to balance the budget for the upcoming 2020 fiscal year.
Cook County Health (CCH):
Chief Judge: Asked to respond to Chicago Supt. of Police’s claim that too many people are being arrested for violent crimes and being released on electronic monitoring, Chief Judge Timothy Evans provided these statistics:
Sheriff: Questions raised as to why, with significant reduction in daily jail population (from 11,000/d a few years ago to 5,600 to 5,900/d now) there hasn’t been more cost reductions in Sheriff’s budget for the jail.
Public Defender: While will not exceed budget for 2019, PD Amy Campanelli said that will be pushing for more money than President’s Office wants for 2020, in part to start an immigration unit with 4 new staff members. These would represent those charged with crimes (whom they are representing anyway in State courts in Cook County) at Federal immigration detention hearings. Cites statistic that have a 90% chance of no detention if have a lawyer and 90% chance of detention if do not. Would not work past detention hearing, but leave to pro bono immigration attorneys to handle the rest of Federal cases.
County Clerk (elections):
County Clerk and Recorder merger in December 2020:
Observer: Priscilla Mims
Cook County Board of Commissioners - Finance Committee Meeting
Mid-year Budget Review - July 17, 2019
What did the Board decide?
Several commissioners requested follow up numbers from Cook County Health (CCH) on a number of issues.
Debra Carey (in the absence of Dr. Shannon, CCH CEO) presented the review of the budget and stated there is a projected shortage of $103M this year. She said they expect to be able to eliminate the deficit. They just received a payment of $77M from Medicaid for County Care and the rest they hope to cover by budget tightening and not filling open positions. Charity care is up for the first time since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This was blamed on a problem in Springfield because there is a backlog of eligibility determination and Medicaid is down 7%. The state is addressing this but it will take time.
It seems that coding and documentation is a big issue both for collecting revenue and the outside coding agencies are the delayed accounts payable cited by OIG. There was a lot of discussion on how this is being addressed.
Commissioner Tobolski asked if there is a structural deficit for the hospital and wants CCH to pay more attention to the business aspect.
Observer - Lisa Slankard Observed for 1 hour
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