Cook County Property Tax Bridge Fund
low-level alert: Cook County Bridge Fund Applications Now Open
Property Tax Bridge Fund
Cook County’s Property Tax Bridge Fund Program is making hundreds of millions of dollars in no interest loans available to local governments and taxing districts while prioritizing underserved and disinvested communities. Qualifying taxing bodies such as municipalities, park districts, schools, etc. will be able to apply for a short-term loan with the County.
With recent approval by the Board of Commissioners, applications will be open to all local taxing jurisdictions beginning August 1, 2022. The application window will close on August 31, 2022, with funds expected to go out in September 2022. Each local taxing district interested in receiving a loan will need to complete an application and upload the required supporting documents for review by the County.
Local taxing districts meeting all the following eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply for a loan:
- Applicants must demonstrate that they have less than four months or 120 days of cash on hand
- Applicant must have at least one bond rating lower than the County’s. The County’s current ratings are “A2” from Moody’s, “A+” from S&P, and “AA-” from Fitch. If a local taxing jurisdiction does not have an up-to-date rating, then it will be assumed to be weaker than the County’s
- Applicant must be located in suburban Cook County
- Paper Districts are excluded: These are any local taxing districts that pass through property tax collections to a third party for provision of services
- Overlapping Districts are excluded: Any local taxing district with more than 1/3 of its jurisdiction outside of the County is ineligible
In order to determine each applicant’s loan, the County has established the following metrics:
- First, Cook County will establish the maximum loan amount for each local taxing district applicant which is the applicant’s extension (or levy) multiplied by the collection rate divided by three.
- Once the maximum loan amount is established, we will determine the loan based on the available cash on hand:
- If a borrower has 60 days or less, they will receive 100% of the maximum loan available to them
- If a borrower has 61-90 days cash on hand, they will receive 75% of the maximum loan
- If a borrower has 91-120 days cash on hand, they will receive 50% of the maximum loan. No borrower will receive a loan for less than $20,000.
Prioritization and Equity Lens
Due to limited resources, loan distributions will be prioritized starting with an equity lens. Local taxing districts that are determined to be most in need will be given priority if the total amount of loan requests exceeds the amount of loan available. The County will leverage its CARES Act equitable distribution model, the State of Illinois’ school funding metrics and the average of three years of collection rates. Additionally, taxing districts that provide vital services will be prioritized.
The County's streamlined and secure application portal is available at https://apps.cookcountyil.gov/BridgeFund. This portal allows local taxing jurisdictions to submit applications and supporting documents for the Bridge Fund Program. A helpful presentation walking through the process is also available here as is this video from a recent office hours webinar walking through the application process.
If you have collected the required documents and financial information, you can submit them with your application to the County’s online portal. You can click on the document links below to see a sample version of what needs to be collected and submitted.
- Last two fiscal year end financials (example here)
- Rating Reports, if available (Moody’s, S&P, Fitch)
- Truth in Taxation or Tax Levy Ordinance
The Cook County Bureau of Finance Project Management Office (PMO) will provide Technical Assistance and Support for Cook County Local Taxing Jurisdictions applying for these funds. As part of the Technical Assistance, the County will provide webinars on various topics, hold Open Office Hours, create an informational newsletter, which will include FAQs and other relevant resources, and provide Individual Assistance.
Webinars & Office Hours
The County has scheduled several new webinar dates below. Any officials or representatives from Local Taxing Jurisdictions who anticipate working on Bridge Fund applications are encouraged to attend these sessions.
Once registered, you will receive a link to a Microsoft Teams meeting via email as well as an email attachment allowing you to add office hours to your calendar. Please email BridgeFund@cookcountyil.gov if you are having issues registering.
Week of August 15:
- Tuesday, August 16, 12 p.m. -1 p.m. CDT: Program Overview and Application Process – This webinar will cover an overview of the program, eligibility requirements and the application process.
- Thursday, August 18, 12 p.m. -1 p.m. CDT: Program Overview and Application Process – This webinar will cover an overview of the program, eligibility requirements and the application process.
Frequently Asked Questions
A document with answers to some frequently asked questions is now available providing helpful answers to common questions. This document will be updated regularly.
If you have any specific questions not addressed here, please email email@example.com.