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Cook County Budget Crisis Sets Meeting's Tone

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Cook County’s under a fiscal crisis, to the tune of about half a billion dollars.

That’s made nearly every commissioner a self-avowed budget hawk.

Chicago Public Radio’s Shawn Allee reports how the budget challenge affected today’s board meeting.

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The board meeting was unlike most others recently.

There were no election-season flare-ups.

Instead, just sobering, almost staid discussions about modest budget items.

Commissioners scrutinized the cost of food service contracts and office furniture.

Commissioner Earlene Collins questioned the county’s I-T department about the need for computer software upgrades.

Collins: We can’t keep on spending this kind of money on this technology when we’re talking about laying off people who provide central services to our core mission. It’s not your fault, that’s the leadership’s fault, and this board’s responsibility to look at.

During most line item debates, only tens of thousands of dollars were at stake.
That’s a long way from the 500 million dollars the Cook County Board will need to cut by the end of February.

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