Cook County officials hold line on property tax levy

2013-12-04T20:15:00Z 2013-12-04T23:55:58Z Cook County officials hold line on property tax levyBy Gregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
December 04, 2013 8:15 pm  • 

CHICAGO | The Cook County Board gave its approval Wednesday to a property tax levy for the upcoming year that they say remains at the same level it has been for years.

By a 15-0 vote, the board approved a levy asking for $727.79 million for the 2014 fiscal year. Of that total, $187.38 million would go toward the fund covering county health programs, including the Stroger Hospital in Chicago.

An additional $308.48 million would be for the corporate purposes fund, while $40.13 million would be for the county’s public safety fund.

Ivan Samstein, the chief financial officer for the county’s Bureau of Finance, said the levy total is “identical to what is called for in the budget resolution.”

He also said the county has managed to keep its levy at a similar level in recent years by controlling its overall spending.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said county government has maintained its tax levy at the “same level since 1996.”

Samstein said part of what helped the county this year is that there are expiring tax increment financing districts that will add $1.91 million in property value to the county tax rolls, which Commissioner Jerry Butler, D-Chicago, said was a concern.

In other business, the County Board reviewed a series of road construction and repair projects, including several in the south suburbs.

The board voted to approve $2.63 million for a project to improve 151st Street from Vincennes road to Second Avenue in Harvey and Phoenix. Officials say this will improve access to the new office for Sterling Lumber, which was considering a move to Gary until county officials kicked in funds to keep the company in Cook County.

“This is a success story we can celebrate,” said county Transportation Superintendent John Yonan.

The county also will spend $2.65 million to resurface several county roads, including Cottage Grove Avenue from Lincoln Highway to Glenwood-Lansing Road, passing through Ford Heights, Glenwood, Chicago Heights and unincorporated Bloom Township.

“This is a pavement preservation project that will extend the life of our roadways,” Yonan said.

County officials also were invited to attend a monument dedication Dec. 11 at the Homewood Memorial Gardens cemetery in unincorporated Thornton Township between Thornton and Homewood, where the county buries corpses of the indigent.

County Commissioner Elizabeth Gorman, R-Orland Park, said Wenta Monument Co. in Milwaukee donated a monument that will mark the spot of the indigent graves.

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