Budget and Finance

Items recommended by the Sunshine Review : The Sam Adams Alliance. Recommended items.                 
Cook County’s Review

This page provides links to information from the County regarding Budget, Checkbook Registry, Audits and Contracts.

Budget

“County residents and taxpayers need to be able to adequately gauge whether county government is:
Effective, Competent, Frugal with tax revenues, In compliance with all expectations
In order for this to happen, residents and taxpayers should expect to find key information on any county’s website:”

Recommended by
Sunshine Review
Cook County Response Cook County Information (department)
The budget for the current fiscal year should be posted online. The County posts its recommended budget as well as the final appropriation. 2010 Annual Appropriation Bill 
(Bureau of Finance)
Budgets for previous years should be posted online. The County has posted its annual appropriation bill each year since 1998. 1998 – current Annual Appropriation Bills
(Bureau of Finance)
It should be very easy for people to find this information when they visit the website. This means that prominent navigational features enabling someone to locate the budget should be included on the homepage of the website. In creating this Open County Initiative section of our portal, it provides the public with an easy link to the budget and other County information from the home page. Open County Initiative
(Cook County Government)
Graphic features that compare the current budget to past year’s budget should be incorporated to enable people to make sense of trends over time. Each year, the budget includes a “Citizen’s Summary” section that provides such and overview as well as other important information towards understanding the County budget and the operation of the government. Appropriation Bill – Citizen’s Summary
(Bureau of Finance)
Narrative features should be incorporated into the descriptions of the budget. For example, if the current year budget is 1.2% higher, or 5% lower, or 14.7% higher than the previous year’s budget, it is helpful to citizens to provide this comparative explanation at the beginning of a summary about the budget. This is provided to the public through the Citizen’s Summary section of the budget, as well as in the President’s Budget Message. 2010 Annual Appropriation Bill – Citizen’s Summary and President’s Budget Message
(Bureau of Finance)

Checkbook Register Online

Checkbook register online refers to the movement to empower people to scrutinize and oversee government by asking that government agencies post their checkbook registers online in an easily accessible, searchable format.

SUNSHINE REVIEW COOK COUNTY RESPONSE COOK COUNTY INFORMATION (DEPARTMENT)
Like an individual’s checkbook, a government agency’s checkbook register will include a transaction number, a date, the name of a payee (e.g., a vendor or an employee) and a dollar amount. It also will include a budget object code and, usually, a short memo explaining the expenditure (e.g., “purchase of six Dell computers” or “travel expense reimbursement”). In response to County Board Resolution 09-R-120, a Monthly Online Check Register was created. Per resolution requirements, it contains check number, vendor/payee name, amount, brief description of the expenditure, date, purchase order number and budget code. Monthly Online Check Register
(Comptroller)

Audits (Financial Performance)

If the county conducts financial and management audits to ensure that it is operating in accordance with the highest standards of financial and management competence and integrity.

While budgets give the big picture to constituents, an audit reveals how well the government performs on their goals. An audit reveals how closely elected officials kept their promises, and enable constituents to hold them accountable.

Recommended by
Sunshine Review
Cook County Response Cook County Information
(department)
Copies of performance and financial audits should be posted on the county’s website. Performance reports are posted on a quarterly basis by the office of Budget and Management Services. These reports provide information about budgetary performance measures and quarterly budget reports from all reporting bureaus. Quarterly Performance Reports(Budget and Management Services)
Routine financial audits should be posted online.
Evaluations of the performance of any specific agencies or commissions should be posted online