Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions


  Office phone numbers:  

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.


The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.

Board erupts over forest preserve homes' low rents
COOK COUNTY: Some commissioners want to collect market value for rental properties

Thursday, May 06, 2004
The Times of Northwest Indiana

The agenda, usually routine, was at the center of a big stir Wednesday at the Cook County Forest Preserve Board meeting.

The uproar began when Commissioner Forrest Claypool asked why homes located in, and owned by the forest preserves, are rented so cheaply to employees.

Claypool and four other commissioners wanted an immediate study to determine the true market value of the homes, a move he believed could save taxpayers' money.

But the agenda, prepared in advance by President John Stroger's staff, stated the sponsors wanted the matter discussed by the finance committee.

Over Claypool's objections, but with Stroger's support, the board voted 10-5 to send the request to that committee.

Later, during the contentious meeting, Commissioner Michael Quigley attempted to introduce a new land policy that would reaffirm the board's commitment to protect the natural land and resources within the district's 68,000 acres. Quigley failed to get the issue before the board Wednesday.

Stroger said the item was submitted too late to be included on the agenda.

Claypool, a Chicago Democrat, alleged that well-connected individuals are given primary access to the homes, and rent is determined on a flat scale well below market value. Rent for three and four bedroom houses are $450 or $225 per month, depending on whether the house is free standing or connected to another forest preserve facility. According to Claypool, charging market rent would increase forest preserve revenue and decrease the burden on other taxpayers.

"We have a resource that really belongs to the taxpayers being given out to employees, and I think that's wrong," Claypool said.

Some officials and other board members first wanted a study about the potential impact of a new rent scale.

"One of the reasons we would like this to go to committee is this calls for the elimination of a system that right now I think helps the taxpayers and into one that may hurt them," said Robert Kinchen, chief attorney for the forest preserve district. He said the houses are not taxed, but would be if the county were to collect the going rate for rentals.

Taxpayers, he said, could actually end up paying more in this situation.

The board sent the matter to the finance committee for further study, over the objections of commissioners Claypool, Quigley, Earlean Collins, Anthony Peraica, and Larry Suffredin. They argued sending it to the committee did not accomplish anything and any changes to the rent structure would have to be board approved anyway.

"You will only further delay the process by sending it to committee," Claypool said.

Meanwhile Quigley, a Chicago Democrat, faced a delay of his own, as the introduction of a land-use policy he has been working on for more than a month was postponed until the next meeting.

Quigley wants a formal board policy for handling requests to use forest preserve land. He favors prohibiting all uses that do not fall within the bounds of passive, natural recreation. Acceptable uses include hiking, birding and bicycling, but not the construction of baseball and soccer fields, which Quigley said is better suited to local park districts. Other commissioners agreed the issue is important but defined "proper use" differently.

"We are going to have to fight to pass this," Suffredin said after the meeting, expressing his disappointment that Stroger refused to allow a discussion. "Procedurally, the president was within his rights, and this was a battle we couldn't win. This is too serious an issue to be remembered just for that. I think when we come back next meeting, we'll be able to move this forward.''

Recent Headlines

Illinois exchange on 3 additional insurers' radar for 2015
Friday, August 22, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Health eyes new call center, more nurses to better compete for patients
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Obamacare money boost helps Cook County hospitals budget next year
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Health puts brakes on plan to sell HMO on Obamacare exchange
Friday, August 15, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

City home values only glimmer in bleak Cook property value report
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Trends in Estimated Full Value of Real Estate in Cook County
Thursday, August 14, 2014
The Civic Federation

Forest Preserves of Cook County Offers Wilderness Camping Opportunities for Families
Monday, August 11, 2014
Special to

Court: Bears owe Cook County $4.1 million in ticket taxes
Thursday, August 07, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

3-week closures announced for Crawford repaving
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Skokie Review

Appeals court rules against Preckwinkle tax on business
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Panel: Cook Co. use tax violates state law
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

County awards $680K to groups working to curb recidivism
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Inmates signing up for Obamacare: Dart
Monday, August 04, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Property tax bills rise at Cook County's biggest buildings
Monday, August 04, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

9,000 Cook County Jail Inmates Enroll in Obamacare Amid Mental Health Crisis
Monday, August 04, 2014
5 NBC Chicago

'Transit deserts' don't serve workers, study says
Sunday, August 03, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Berrios relatives risk injury for right to crowd county payroll
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest Preserve HQ plans expansion in River Forest
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Records falsified in Metra work logs
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Chicago Tribune

How we shaft the mentally ill
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Chicago Tribune

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.