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Forest Preserve District Budget

FY19 Forest Preserve Budget click here

A Yes Vote for Cook County Forest Preserve 2019 Budget and a Renewed Call for a Referendum to Save Our Forest Preserves

On November 15, 2018, I voted for a maintenance 2019 Cook County Forest Preserve District Budget to protect the work that has been done to protect our land. This budget is a caretaker’s budget that does not address the actual need to protect our land resources.

Our Forest Preserves land survives because of the thousands of hours that our volunteers give to protect our vast and diverse holdings. We all owe these dedicated volunteer workers a thank you for their service.

For the last three years I have stated that the budgets were the best we can do; but we must figure out how to improve. The simple need is to restore the land and for more financial resources to acquire land that is still available.

This Budget is the fourth to have input from the Conservation Council whose role is to help us create a clear vision for the future. The Council has called for the last four years to expand land restoration and land acquisition.

The Budget maintains our support of the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Brookfield Zoo. This funding level is too low to assist either in performing their missions. These two jewels anchor our outreach and educational programming. Neither the Garden nor the Zoo can continue their level of excellence without future increased funding.

I renew my call to trust our voters and ask them to approve a referendum to increase real estate tax funding to do three things: 1. Approve funds to expand restoration services on our land; 2. Acquire additional land while some still exists; and 3. Increase our subsidies to the Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

A referendum is the only way Cook County Forest Preserve District can obtain the funds it needs to fulfill its mission. The earliest a referendum could be held is 2020. We need to trust that our voters will give us wise guidance, so that future generations can enjoy the beauty of our land.

FY18 Forest Preserve Budget click here

A "Yes" Vote for Cook County Forest Preserve 2018 Budget and a Renewed Call for a Referendum to Save Our Forest Preserves


On December 12, 2017, I voted for a 2018 Forest Preserve District Budget to protect the work that has been done to protect our land. This budget is far from perfect and contains serious reductions to the flat maintenance budgets passed over the last four years. This crisis budgeting can't continue if we are to manage our land assets correctly. The 2018 Budget must be the last time we ignore the actual needs of the Forest Preserves.

Our Forest Preserves are only surviving because of the thousands of hours that our volunteers give to protect our vast and diverse land holdings. We all owe these dedicated volunteer workers a thank you for their service.

For the last two years, I have stated that the budgets were the best we can do; but we must figure out how to improve. These budgets reveal the constitutional and statutory structural weakness of the "Non-Home Rule" Cook County Forest Preserve District. Unlike Cook County which is a "Home Rule" government, the Forest Preserves can only raise operating funds through property taxes that are capped; fees from earned services i.e. campground rentals, golf fees; and fines from those abusing our public lands through unlawful acts. These sources of income are all limited and are not adequate to properly fund essential activities. For the last three years flat budgets let us survive while ignoring our duty to provide better resources for our residents.

The 2018 Budget continues to provide:

1.limited support and encouragement for our volunteers;

2.limited resources for our staff;

3.limited restoration opportunities for our land;

4.limited strategies to acquire additional land;

5.improvements in recreational opportunities; and

6.expansion of intern opportunities.

This Budget is the third to have input from the Conservation Council whose role is to help us create a clear vision for the future. The Council has called for the last three years to expanded land restoration and land acquisition. Neither is properly funded in this budget.

The Budget reduces our support of the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Brookfield Zoo by a $1 million. The current level of funding is too low to assist either in performing their missions. These two jewels anchor our outreach and educational programming. Neither the Garden nor the Zoo can continue their level of excellence without increased funding - not reduced funding. The need to develop plans to help the Garden and the Zoo expand their positive programming and to provide further opportunities to improve our land need a bolder vision of funding for the Forest Preserves.

As with last three years, this budget does not address the pension funding issue. We must develop a plan to solve this funding problem that all levels of government are struggling to resolve.

For the last two years I have warned that you can only keep a minimal maintenance budget for so long before you threaten all the good you do. I had hoped that the 2018 budget would contain bold plans to show how to get beyond minimal maintenance. Unfortunately, that planning did not occur and now we must look for bold steps or we will fail in future years.

I renew my call to trust our voters and ask them to approve a referendum to increase tax funding to do three things:

1.Approve funds to expand restoration services on our land;

2.Acquire additional land while some still exists; and

3.Increase our subsidies to the Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

A referendum is the only way the Cook County Forest Preserve District can obtain the funds it needs to fulfill its mission. The earliest a referendum could be held is now 2020. We need to trust that our voters will give us wise guidance, so that future generations can enjoy the beauty of our land.

Finally, this budget shows that the attention of the Commissioners is much more focused on the County government and not on the Forest Preserve government. This is the time to consider separating the two governments and giving the Forest Preserves a separate governing board.



Previous Years Budgets:

FY17 Forest Preserve Budget click here

FY16 Forest Preserve Budget click here

FY15 Forest Preserve Budget click here

FY14 Forest Preserve Budget click here

December 3, 2013 – The Forest Preserves of Cook County Board of Commissioners passed President Toni Preckwinkle’s proposed $179 million FY2014 budget by a vote of 16-0.

FY13 Forest Preserve Budget to see details click here

December 18, 2012 – The Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC) Board of Commissioners unanimously passed President Toni Preckwinkle’s proposed FY2013 budget by a vote of 16-0 at a meeting held on Tuesday, December 18. The $189 million budget was balanced without raising taxes

FY12 Forest Preserve Budget to see details click here

December 15, 2011 – The Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC) Board of Commissioners passed President Toni Preckwinkle’s proposed FY2012 budget by a vote of 14-0 at a meeting held on Thursday, December 15.

FY11 Forest Preserve Budget

On October 6, 2010, President Todd Stroger presented his FY11 Budget for the Forest Preserve District. Any action on this proposal will be deferred until a new County Board President takes office.

 

FY10 Forest Preserve Budget Approved

On December 15, 2009, the Cook County Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners approved President Todd Stroger's FY10 Cook County Forest Preserve Budget.

The budget can be found on the Forest Preserve’s website, at http://www.fpdcc.com/tier3.php?release_id=511.

  • Click here for President Stroger’s Budget address
  • Click here for remarks from General Superintendent Steven Bylina
  • Click here for the Civic Federation analysis supporting the FY10 FPD Budget

 

Fiscal Year 2009

 

Fiscal Year 2008

 

Fiscal Year 2007

Fiscal Year 2006

Fiscal Year 2005

 

 

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