The Cook County Board of Commissioners today approved a balanced $5.94 billion FY 2019 budget that confronts the County’s financial challenges while avoiding new taxes, fines and fees.
The unanimous vote, with two absent, approving the budget follows a month of departmental hearings, commissioner questions and public meetings.
“This budget builds on the progress we have made to reform and reshape Cook County into a government that truly serves all of its residents,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. “I believe the budget we passed today represents principled progress toward our commitment to making Cook County healthier, safer and more fiscally responsible.”
The $5.94 billion recommendation is an increase of $738.5 million compared to FY2018. This figure includes a $647.3 million increase in the Health Enterprise Fund, driven primarily by the projected growth of CountyCare enrollment to nearly 345,000 members per month in FY2019. Additional cost drivers included programmatic expansion of surgery, dialysis and health center services. Increased costs were primarily offset by an increase in CountyCare membership resulting in $611 million in revenue.
Revenue growth in the form of a $52 million increase in projected collections and enhanced enforcement efforts generating $8.8 million in the collection of non-property taxes, such as the gas tax, further contributed to balancing the budget.
“Whether making supplemental pension payments or being more judicious in our debt management, we have achieved much because we have avoided quick fixes in our previous budgets,” Preckwinkle said. “We have instilled sound fiscal discipline and implemented meaningful structural changes. I want to thank the members of the board and the separately elected officials for their efforts and collaborative work for the betterment of Cook County and our residents.”
All budget information has been posted to the Cook County budget website, allowing the public to review documents. To view the amendments and additional budget information visit: www.cookcountyil.gov/Budget.