Timely collection provides income stability to local governments and helps them avoid interest costs of tax anticipation bonds. 

Neighborhoods, streets and schools safe from violence are essential to a healthy and productive County. Crime is corrosive to society and residents’ quality of life is affected by whether they feel safe in their communities. Police investigations, arrests, and successful prosecutions increase safety by removing criminals from communities. Through workforce training, education, and job skills investments the County can prevent would-be offenders from engaging in criminal behavior.

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Criminal prevention and intervention help end the continuous cycle of arrest and incarceration. Offenders with a criminal record may struggle to find housing or work and may return to substance abuse and criminality - ultimately ending up back in jail.

Re-entry programs divert non-violent offenders into rehabilitative programs, such as those operated by the Sheriff’s Department of Reentry and Diversion Programs. Alternative programs are typically less costly than jail detention and increase opportunities for a productive return to the community through addictions treatment, job skills training, and links to external resources. 

Multiple parties may participate in the diversion of non-violent offenders including judges, the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, and the Sheriff’s Office.

A rapid trial and a fair process is necessary to protect and uphold the fundamental rights, liberties and dignity of all persons. Every individual has a constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial. When cases enter the system faster than they are decided (cleared), the backlog of cases in the courts builds, the caseload of prosecutors and public defenders grows, and time to trial lengthens. When a case is delayed through motion states or continuances, the defendant’s stay in jail is extended. Errors in documentation can also create delays and wrongful release or detention.

Assessments determine the value of property for purposes of taxation, and accuracy in assessments and fairness in appeals ensures this valuation is equitable. Cook County uses a mass appraisal system to establish property assessments for each parcel of residential real estate. The quality of the mass appraisal will be measured by statistical outputs from the system. A property owner’s choice to appeal is an indication of open access to an appeal system, as well as an opportunity for taxpayers to customize the mass appraisal based on individual property characteristics.

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Assessments determine the value of property for purposes of taxation, and accuracy in assessments and fairness in appeals ensures this valuation is equitable. Cook County uses a mass appraisal system to establish property assessments for each parcel of residential real estate. The quality of the mass appraisal will be measured by statistical outputs from the system. A property owner’s choice to appeal is an indication of open access to an appeal system, as well as an opportunity for taxpayers to customize the mass appraisal based on individual property characteristics.

Improving the skills of our workforce will increase the attractiveness of locating in Cook County for employers and reduce unemployment for residents. Workforce development programs prepare unemployed County residents to find and succeed in jobs that pay a living wage. Services are offered to adults at three levels. First, training may begin at the basic skills level for those who lack education or soft skills for the workplace. Second, those with basic skills may take a job specific training course. And third, those with a skill set and looking for jobs can use a variety of valuable job placement resources. Youth training is tailored to the distinct needs of this age group. The effectiveness of our workforce readiness efforts is demonstrated by the number of clients placed in full-time employment.

Fostering the creation of well-paying, private-sector jobs will boost the regional economy and reduce unemployment. Cook County assists in the creation of private-sector jobs by directing support programs to businesses and projects that will hire residents. The Federal government allocates grants which the County manages locally. One example is the Community Development Block Grants, which can be used to create jobs in construction, renovation, and community services. Tax incentives may be provided to businesses to attract and support either expanded business activity or relocation to the region. Recently the County has reinvigorated it’s No Cash Bid Program to help municipalities gain control over tax delinquent properties with the objective of redeveloping those properties, leading to development jobs, and revitalizing abandoned properties.

Lowering taxes increases economic activity, raising business’ income and increases residents’ spending power. A high sales tax causes consumers to shop outside the County, in turn driving businesses away or out of business. Lowering the sales tax will allow shopping at local businesses to be more competitive with other options that consumers have. It will allow local businesses to prosper, possibly leading to further investment or job creation, while also putting money back in the pocket of taxpayers. Finding new innovative ways to increase collection rates, efficiency, and increase revenue of a tax allows to lower rates, thus reducing the tax burden on households.

Revenue collection is fundamental to the ability of government to operate. Even and fair collection of taxes is essential to provide a level playing field for businesses and individuals. Fee revenue is generated from services performed (e.g. patient fees from County hospitals) or privileges granted (e.g. permits).

The County also imposes fines for abuse of ordinances or delinquent taxes. Timely collections of intergovernmental transfers often fund key services. For example, Medicaid funds transferred from the State for healthcare helps fund services for people with limited financial resources.

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Procurement of goods and services must be efficient to lower the government’s costs, and help agencies acquire the resources they need. Efficient procurement lowers the cost of government, and rapid purchasing allows the department to receive what it needs in a timely manner. The number of vendors bidding increases the quality of the winning bid, and lowers the price of goods and services.

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Access is the first step in obtaining quality healthcare and removing barriers to access may result in adverse health outcomes. Improving access is about making the right treatment available to patients at the right place and the right time. CCHHS strives to improve its healthcare delivery model to provide more services in areas of high demand, and address unmet needs for primary care and specialty care services. Thus, the number of ambulatory provider visits and outpatient registrations should increase over time. At the same time, increased operational efficiency will reduce patient wait time to access services. Timely access to primary care and diagnostic services is important, because diagnosing illness in earlier, more treatable stages may improve patient outcomes.

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Promoting personal and community health, preventing illness and detecting diseases early improves the quality of life for Cook County residents. The mission of the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) is to protect and promote health while preventing illness, disability and premature death among all residents of suburban Cook County. Environmental health inspections play a critical role in achieving this mission, and the CCDPH looks to: prevent the spread of food borne illnesses by restaurants, enforce tobacco regulations, and protect County residents from mosquito-borne illnesses. Furthermore, CCDPH’s strategic plan identifies four key areas of focus: chronic disease prevention, youth sexual health improvement, violence prevention, and access to healthcare services.

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Error-free collection minimizes inconvenience to taxpayers and reduces administrative costs.

Improvement of personnel oversight is critical to effectively manage sick time and attendance, which increases employee productivity. Managing attendance and driving down abuse of sick time privileges has the same benefit as hiring more people, without incurring the additional cost. Accurate time keeping is also essential, to manage employee attendance.

Neighborhoods, streets and schools safe from violence are essential to a healthy and productive County. Crime is corrosive to society and residents’ quality of life is affected by whether they feel safe in their communities. Police investigations, arrests, and successful prosecutions increase safety by removing criminals from communities. Through workforce training, education, and job skills investments the County can prevent would-be offenders from engaging in criminal behavior.

Higher quality healthcare leads to better quality of life for Cook County residents. Quality of care can be thought of as receiving the best treatment possible, free of errors or mistakes and provided by helpful and respectful medical professionals. The CCHHS looks to improve patient mortality, patient satisfaction, and waiting times for emergency department visits, to mention a few.

High levels of detention cause great financial costs to the County, about $143 an inmate per day, and greater social costs to communities. The Cook County Jail is generally a temporary holding facility as most defendants await trial there, and most of those convicted at trial remain there until transferred to a state prison. The jail is very expensive for the County to run, and a lower jail population means lower costs. Lowering the jail population also reduces overcrowding, resulting in fewer violent incidents, greater safety for inmates and jail employees, and lower costs for medical treatment. The keys to lowering the jail population are getting defendants to trial faster and the court ordering nonviolent offenders to await trial in the electronic monitoring, day reporting, and other diversion programs.

Online self-service transactions increase options for taxpayers and efficiency of the system. Taxpayers need information to be aware of exemptions and appeals available. Taxpayers seek information through phone calls, in person questions, emails, satellite offices and website searches. Rapid response provides good customer service and allows the efficiency of the system to be maintained. Online exemption filing is more convenient for taxpayers and saves on data entry and error checking.

To maintain a healthy financial position, it is critical that managers understand their budgets and spend within their limits, especially in these tight financial times. Personnel and non-personnel spending must remain within budget for financial viability.

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The county requires a well-qualified and trained workforce. Efficiently filling vacant positions improves productivity and reduces the need for overtime. High vacancy rates for critical positions hurts productivity. Vacancy problems also drive the rates of overtime spending. The position must also be filled with qualified individuals in a process that is free of political influence and according to Shakman compliances.

Through collaborative projects, the County can leverage investment dollars and attract additional partners to create even greater regional economic advancement. Cook County and the City of Chicago are both leaders in and funders of economic development projects. Working with the City to coordinate investment and strategic programming, the County can maximize the regional impact of our programs and grow the tax base. Through the Government Partnership for Economic Development committee, Metropolitan Planning Council, and the newly established Council of Economic Advisor, the County partners with the business community to increase capacity and build new businesses.

Leadership and stewardship is critical for ensuring long-term sustainable healthcare for Cook County residents. CCHHS provides a critical service for the public by developing exceptional physicians and healthcare leaders. County physicians have been pioneers in the use of important medical and surgical techniques, and the CCCHS is recognized as a leading teaching center offering a wide array of residency and fellowship programs where resident and attending physicians work together to meet the needs of the area’s multi-ethnic population. In addition, CCHHS is focused on improving operational efficiency and fiscal responsibility to ensure long-term system sustainability and competitiveness.