On Friday morning, President Toni Preckwinkle’s office released its solution to the county’s $200 million budget gap. The fix calls for the county to lay off 425 employees and eliminate 1016 positions, including more than 250 correctional and police officers. Two of Preckwinkle’s fellow Democrats, Comm. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-7) and Comm. John Fritchey (D-12), were not signed on as cosponsors as of Friday morning.

[Preckwinkle’s original proposal]

The first budget vote will be in the Finance Committee meeting at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday. Following passage there, the budget will be ratified immediately after at a special board meeting.

The 44 pages of
amendments have six parts:

  • A repeal of the sweetened beverage tax and adjustment of revenue projections
  • $164 million in expenditure reductions countywide, including position cuts and adjustments of benefits and insurance
  • Special purpose fund and grant adjustments
  • Changes to the capital equipment purchases
  • General fund technical changes
  • Health fund technical changes

[Amendments]

“The bulk of layoffs are middle management” in the Sheriff and Chief Judge’s offices, “though virtually all offices will have some reductions,” Preckwinkle spokesperson Frank Shuftan said Friday.

Preckwinkle’s budget office is banking on higher returns on investments, increased revenue from the treasurer, recorder, and registrar, and bigger tax revenue. The county is projecting $10 million more in property tax revenue, $5 million in tax increment financing (TIF) revenue, and $5 million from Medicaid payments in 2018.

According to The Daily Line’s analysis of the amendment, Sheriff Tom Dart’s office will lose more than 500 positions in the proposal. 181 are layoffs. 350 full time equivalent positions (FTEs) are cut from the Department of Corrections, 134 from the Court Services division, 89 from the Police Department, 54 from Sheriff’s Administration, and 32 from the Office of Professional Review and Sheriff’s Merit Board. Close to 250 are correctional or police officers.

[Layoffs by department and union]

Chief Judge Timothy Evans will also be asked to make deep cuts, including 180 layoffs. Juvenile Temporary Detention Center staff were cut by 84, Juvenile Probation and Court Services lost 61 positions, the Office of the Chief Judge lost 38 positions, and Social Service lost 23.

The two offices charged with managing property tax assessment and appeals lost roughly 60 positions. Assessor Joe Berrios is facing 48 positions cut, of which 5 are layoffs. The Board of Review lost 19 positions. Eight are layoffs. BOR refused twice to propose its own cuts for several weeks, arguing any reductions would lead to a delay in tax bills going out.

[Budget questions and responses from departments]

There are no layoffs included in the President’s proposal for the public defender or state’s attorney. Both Amy Campanelli and Kim Foxx argued they had already made drastic cuts and anything further would end up costing the county more money in private attorney fees.