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CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle is delaying, but also expanding, plans to charge residents of unincorporated Cook County for services they now get for free, such as police protection.
As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, Preckwinkle says there are problems with having Cook County Sheriff’s police patrol unincorporated Cook County.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports
“It isn’t a large, contiguous area that you’re patrolling,” she said. “It’s small, scattered areas all over suburban Cook County, and that makes it extremely difficult to patrol.”
Preckwinkle says a delay will give unincorporated residents a chance to see if they could get the same or better protection by contract with nearby police departments.
She has also appointed a panel of civic and elected leaders to see how unincorporated residents might fairly fund the $70 million worth of police, animal control and liquor license services they now get for free from the county.
“We’ve asked the people in unincorporated Cook County – this is 100,000 people out of 5.3 million – who get their police services, presently, for free. The rest of us pay for their police services, so it’s a double tax on everybody else in the county. You pay for your own municipal police services if you’re in Chicago, or Schaumburg, or Calumet City, or Oak Park, or Evanston, and then on top of that, you pay for the police services in unincorporated Cook County,” she said. “We think that those people should pay for their police services.”
The new fiscal year begins on Dec. 1. State law requires the county to pass a balanced budget by Feb. 1 each year.