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County Board Argues Billion-Dollar Borrowing Plan

SHARE County Board Argues Billion-Dollar Borrowing Plan

At today’s Cook County board meeting, a question about borrowing billions of dollars kept commissioners and county officials scurrying behind closed doors for a good chunk of the day.

The drama was over the county borrowing $3.75 billion through bond issuances; an amount larger than the county’s annual budget. The measure to borrow that much money passed committee yesterday, but when it came up before the full board today, a few commissioners raised concerns. That sparking a nearly five-hour debate and multiple backroom meetings. Eventually, the board approved it, but Commissioner Forrest Claypool says the measure treads on dangerous territory.

CLAYPOOL: The kitchen sink is in there to allow essentially, the administration to do whatever it wants without traditional board oversight.

Claypool says the bonds are excessive and poorly timed, seeing as the board raised Cook County’s sales tax to a record level earlier this year. Board President Todd Stroger says the bonds are run-of-the-mill and are needed to pay a variety of projects commissioners already approved.

I’m Tony Arnold, Chicago Public Radio.

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