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Cook County

Preckwinkle projects $152 million deficit in 2014 preliminary budget

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle released on Thursday a preliminary budget for the county’s next fiscal year, which includes an expected $152.1 million operating deficit.

The deficit is driven by $166 million in cost increases related to employee healthcare benefits, personnel and non-personnel spending, according to a press release from Preckwinkle’s office.

This year’s rollback of the county’s 0.25 percent sales tax accounts and a recent reduction in the non-titled use tax will lead to an estimated $60 million in lost revenue.

Cook County Hospital CEO explores CountyCare extension

Cook County Health and Hospitals System CEO Ramanathan Raju said that he met this week with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and asked the senator to help extend some form of federal support for CountyCare, an ambitious, federally-funded Medicaid benefits program that expires in January.

“We are basically saying that after the CountyCare demonstration ends we want to continue it in some form,” Raju said on Thursday in an address to the CCHHS board. “We should not dismantle this infrastructure.”

Beavers denied new trial, sentencing date set

Preckwinkle wants governments in Chicago region to collaborate on economic issues

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Tuesday called for greater economic cooperation within the Chicago region, including “ending the cross border competitive zero sum game that occurs between municipalities, between counties and between states in our region.”

“Most public dollars spent on economic development are used to retain or attract business, but that does not create new jobs or improve the economy of the region as a whole,” Preckwinkle said at a City Club of Chicago event.

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Cook County business property owners to see higher tax bills

Cook County to ship detainees to Rock Island County

Overcrowding at Cook County Jail has forced the county to look elsewhere to house some of its detainees. On Wednesday, Rock Island County became the 12th Illinois county to agree to house jail detainees that cannot be squeezed into Cook County Jail.

Cook County commissioners unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement under which Rock Island County will provide boarding and lodging to Cook County detainees at a cost of $50 a day. It costs Cook County $143 a day to house a prisoner in the Cook County Jail.

Cook County Health trims taxpayer subsidy

Cook County lowers use tax

Facing a legal challenge to the county’s new use tax, the Cook County Board on Wednesday voted unanimously by voice vote to lower the tax. 

Forest Preserve hopes to use 100th anniversary as publicity springboard

Arnold Randall, superintendent of the Cook County Forest Preserve District, basked in the afterglow on Tuesday of the district’s 100th anniversary celebration, which took place at the Chicago Cultural Center last week. Some members of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, though, questioned whether Randall has maximized publicity for the Forest Preserve.

Fritchey seeks to reduce jail population

With a seasonal spike in crime expected to lead to an increase in the number of inmates at Cook County jail this summer, county Comm. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) is calling for a revised bail structure that would ease overcrowding at the facility.

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