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POLL: Should Cook County Municipalities Annex Unincorporated Areas?

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced a recommendation last week that calls for the annexation of all unincorporated areas into existing towns.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is calling for the elimination of all unincorporated areas in the coming years in order to relieve the county's strained financial resources.

Under the proposal, nearby municipalities would annex the county's 62 square miles of unincorporated land, leaving towns and villages to pick up the cost for services like police protection and code enforcement.

Preckwinkle appointed a task force in November 2011 to investigate the provision of services to unincorporated Cook County, as well as the associated costs. The study was completed and results were announced during a press conference Monday morning.

According to Preckwinkle, recent budget reviews have shown that providing "municipal-type" services to the 98,000 residents in unincorporated Cook County is reducing available funds for the county's primary functions—health care and criminal justice.

According to Preckwinkle, the report determined that the elimination of unincorporated areas "will provide for more local control over local public policy decisions and allow the county to realize significant budget savings over time." 

In the next year, municipalities will be encouraged to annex unincorporated parcels with fewer than 100 residents, with a specific focus on parcels smaller than 60 acres, according to the report.

Near-term goals include shifting the annexation push to larger parcels, and creating fee-for-service models and adjusting revenue streams to cover the costs of providing services to unincorporated areas.

During the press conference, Preckwinkle said she hopes to achieve the panel's goal by the end of the decade. The long-term savings for Cook County is still unknown, she said.

Do you think municipalities, including , should annex unincorporated areas of Cook County? Tell us why or why not in the comments.

Pat Browne May 07, 2012 at 12:26 PM
what about the cost of extending sewer and water lines?? and road repair and maintenance?? The increased police protection would be a plus, however.
Dwayne May 07, 2012 at 12:52 PM
No it wouldn't. Right now, the Unincorporated areas of Cook County are costing the county more money than what you expect. You already have water and sewer lines within these areas, so that wouldn't be an additional cost. However, the village will be able to tax your property. The other benefit of these occuring will be the elimination of the township level of government. All around, it's a win win situation.
Joe Mann May 07, 2012 at 06:09 PM
It might bring down Lemont property taxes if the unincorporated Lemont property tax bills were billed at the same rate as incorporated bills.
Rick May 07, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Do you really think Lemont will lower your taxes? I live in unincorporated Lemont township we have our own private sewers that we pay to inspect and we also have private wells that if we were annexed into Lemont village the village said they will condemn our sewer and put there own in and fill up our private wells ( allowed in township not in Village) So who is going to pay for all of this ? WE ARE don't forget all the extra road maintenance you will have to pay for and new sidewalk . Because the will get sued if someone was walking down the street and killed because there aren't any sidewalks . Believe me the only direction your taxes are going is up . They should be looking how to cut some of these high priced jobs in Cook county.
Denise Wirtz May 16, 2012 at 04:17 AM
We DO pay taxes to the Village AND Cook County and don't get all the services the Village gets!


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