Cook County Board Meeting - March 2, 2016
Significant Decisions Made:
Walmart was granted a Class 8 Property Tax Incentive to open a super center in a former K Mart building in Homewood. They are closing a store in an “obsolete” building in Glenwood and want to move to the larger space in Homewood. It appears that the designation will reduce their annual taxes from $8.5m to $4m but when Comm. Gainer pressed the Bureau of Economic Development for numbers they were hard to come by. The representative for Walmart stated that they needed the incentive to open the store, otherwise they might not do the project.(16-0456)
The Department of Planning and Development presented 4 projects that would be investments by the county in affordable housing. The proposals were for loans that come from federal grant money (CDBG Disaster Recovery and HOME funds) to assist each of the projects in development of their affordable housing project. The total amount approved for all 4 loans was $9m and the projects are located in LaGrange, Hines, Ford Heights, and Park Forest. (16-1053, 16-1056, 16-1058, 16-1059)
During the Finance Committee meeting the Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) monthly report was received. The representative from CCHHS stated that there is a “lot of red ink for the first 2 months” but the issues are fixable and they have a plan for dealing with the concerns with County Care and overtime. They are also owed $138m by the state of which he stated that about $56m can be accounted for by the usual lag time. The rest is overdue. Comm. Daley asked if CCHHS was talking with Rush and U of I about future plans. Comm. Gainer stated that the Health Care Advisory Task Force had met and she was glad that CCHHS was represented at the meeting. Comm. Gainer also pressed for more discussion of utilization of the CCHHS facilities and reimbursement concerns as they contemplate a $100m investment in new buildings for the system.
Comm. Fritchey had concern about a contract extension (16-1772) for an additional $173,500 for a Disparity Study. The contract being extended began in 2013 but he was referencing a contract for the same vendor dating back to 2006 and he wanted clarification on whether that was a previous contract or related to the present extension. He wanted to see the report from a previous study if this is indeed a new and second contract with the same vendor. He was told that he would get the report.
The meeting ended with a brief announcement that the Medical Examiner’s Office had received National Accreditation..
The Board Meeting was preceded by 8 committee meetings (from 9:15-11am) that included 3 reconvened from the previous day for lack of a quorum. The Board Meeting was started on time (11am) but Finance was included with Zoning and Building, and Roads and Bridges which all met after the Consent Calendar was completed which lasted an hour as usual. All meetings adjourned at 1:30pm.
Observer - Cynthia Schilsky
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