Oak Park trustee says there is no easy fix to Cook County's budget deficit
Cook County officials are currently faced with an approximately $82 million budget hole for 2019 and are expecting a $95 million deficit for operating funds in 2020, leaving the government in a unique situation as it attempts to find a solution.
"Cook County is a high-service county that serves a large constituency," Oak Park Trustee Deno Andrews told West Cook News. "Making drastic cuts will negatively affect people with little or no time to adjust. Tax increases are not tolerable because we are already among the highest in the nation."
Andrews said the situation is made more complicated by the fact that taxes will either have to increase or services will have to be cut. He said neither of those is an ideal option for residents.
"In the end, taxpayers don’t want more taxes, but they also don’t want services cut," Andrews said. "Balancing these wishes is what makes it challenging to run the county, or any municipality for that matter."
He said it is necessary is for the voters of Cook County to have more discernment when it comes to electing commissioners.
"Taxpayers continue to elect commissioners who are not ashamed to operate such deficit budgets," Andrews said. "Why would the county change its fiscal management style when taxpayers continually reward the status quo?"
A budget must be approved by Dec. 1.