April 19, 2017 – To make more informed decisions and recommendations prior to voting on important issues affecting the County, the Cook County Board is implementing a Committee of the Whole structure – or a monthly work session – in addition to its regularly scheduled, three Board meetings per month. This new regular monthly work session of the board is scheduled for the third Tuesday of each month from 1-3 pm.
“Committee of the Whole sessions, commonly used by legislative bodies, are an opportunity to have in-depth discussions during a meeting without requiring a decision on the spot and allow decision makers an opportunity to ask questions, get answers and compile background information to bring solid recommendations for decisions during the formal Board meetings,” said Jan Sivertson, Chair – Cook County Board of Commissioners.
Committee of the Whole Meetings will be recorded and posted on the County website after the meeting when it is available, and the formal decision-making Board Meetings will continue to be live-streamed for public viewing.
Yesterday’s Committee of the Whole Meeting under the new meeting structure focused on planning for the County Budget and longer-term capital and financial planning.
“Work is already underway to prepare for the 2018 Budget and address major impacts and challenges,” said Sivertson, Board Chair. “It is important to the County that the public is informed about Budget impacts and engaged in the process well in advance. Preliminary budgetary assumptions for 2018-2020 were reviewed today.”
“As we saw in this year’s 2017 Budget, major items that will have an impact will be staffing and benefits, fund balance considerations, expenses incurred in 2017 with payments deferred to 2018 and beyond, specifically capital planning for highway department purchases,” said Jeff Cadwell, County Administrator. “The goal for this year is to balance the County Budget and set a plan in place to inform current and future Budget discussions. The General Government and Budget Committee will work with the Auditor and the County Administrator to review and refine these assumptions.”
A preliminary list of capital improvements and transportation-tax-eligible highway projects were reviewed for consideration for a bond issue later in 2017. Capital improvement plans for County facilities will be explored and brought forward to the Board for consideration.
The Committee of the Whole also reviewed a proposal to provide Capital Improvement and Financial Planning Services. The consultant Bruce Kimmel, Ehlers will be invited to a future Board meeting to present the proposal for board Consideration.