Continuing her commitment to implementing long-term financial planning at the County, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle issued an executive order requiring annual preliminary budgets from all Cook County agencies and departments.
The executive order, which President Preckwinkle signed this morning, will require the Cook County Department of Budget and Management to produce a preliminary budget by July 31st of each year.
In addition, to increase transparency within the budget process, the executive order calls for additional public hearings to be conducted before September 1st of each year in order to gain public input on budget priorities prior to the President submitting an executive budget recommendation. After taking the public hearings into consideration, the President will submit the executive budget recommendation by no later than October 31st.
The executive budget will also include a three year outlook for both revenues and expenditures, another first for a Cook County Board President. This kind of commitment to improving County finances and increasing transparency has never been undertaken by any previous Cook County Board President.
“Fiscal responsibility has always been at the top of this administration’s priorities,” President Preckwinkle said. “Government at every level is facing difficult economic conditions. With the fiscal pressures related to rolling back the sales tax, managing the health system, pension and retiree healthcare benefit costs, we must be diligent in our work to increase fiscal responsibility and accountability throughout County operations.”
President Preckwinkle said she is committed to hearing from all parties about spending priorities while continuing to identify waste and excess to make County government more efficient.
“It’s important that the public gains a meaningful understanding of the $3.5 billion county budget and the role of the President, Board of Commissioners and the county’s elected officials in the budget process,” said Preckwinkle. “Quite simply, Cook County residents deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent. We are going to open up the process in public hearings and give the citizens of Cook County the chance to weigh on the important decisions in the budget process.”
Preckwinkle was joined by her Budget Director, Andrea Gibson.
“The first step in having a disciplined budget is having a disciplined budget process. A formal preliminary budget will begin to frame the financial issues that we are facing as a county,” said Gibson.
Commissioner Daley, Chairman of the Finance Committee, joined in support of the President’s executive order.
“This executive order is a significant step towards a county government that is more accountable and fiscally responsible,” Chairman Daley said. “I applaud the President’s efforts today and I look forward to working with her on long-term financial planning going forward.”