Cook County Preliminary Forecast
The Cook County budget process begins in early summer when departments inform the Department of Budget and Management Services (DBMS) of their expected personnel and non-personnel needs for the next year. The budget department then prepares a preliminary budget forecast based on these departmental requests and projected revenues.
This report presents a mid-year projection of year-end revenues and expenses for Fiscal Year 2019 and an initial forecast of Fiscal Year 2020 revenues and expenditures for the General Fund and Health Enterprise Fund, the County’s two major operating funds.
General Fund Projections
The Corporate and Public Safety Funds together make up the County’s General Fund. The Corporate Fund includes most of the property tax-related functions of County government on behalf of underlying jurisdictions, as well as general administrative functions of the County. The Public Safety Fund is comprised of the County’s criminal justice system: jails, courts, and related programs.
For FY2019, the General Fund is projecting to end the year with a favorable variance of $14.9 million. Revenues are projecting $4.1 million or 0.2% above the adopted budget and expenses $10.8 million or 0.6% below the adopted budget.
For FY2020, the General Fund is projecting a budget gap of $11.9 million. Revenues are forecasting $4.7 million or 0.3% above the FY2019 adopted budget and expenses $16.6 million or 0.9% above the FY2019 adopted budget.
Health Enterprise Fund Projections
The Health Enterprise Fund receives revenue from the health system operations and supports the Department of Public Health, Stroger Hospital, Oak Forest Health Center, Provident Hospital, Cermak Health Services, the Ambulatory/Community Health Network Clinics and Managed Care Operation, commonly referred to as CountyCare; along with a small tax allocation to support Public Health and Correction Health operations.
For FY2019, the Health Fund is projecting to end the year with an unfavorable variance of $103.1 million. Revenues are projecting $195.3 million or 7.3% below the adopted budget and expenses $92.2 million or 3.4% below the adopted budget.
For FY2020, the Health Fund forecasts a budget gap of $6.8 million; with revenues $149.6 million or 5.6% below the FY2019 adopted budget and expenses $142.8 million or 5.3% below the FY2019 adopted budget.
May/June Departments submit preliminary revenue and expense estimates to the Department of Budget and Management Services (DBMS). The agencies specifically summarize issues, request specific funding levels, and justify staffing requests.
June DBMS prepares the preliminary budget based on the requests submitted by the departments and the revenue the County expects will be collected. The preliminary budget forecast is filed with the President’s Office by June 30.
July The President holds a public hearing on the Preliminary Budget, allowing the public to provide feedback during the development of the Executive Budget Recommendation.
September Residents and departments provide input during the final development of the County budget. The President and DBMS work to balance department requests with available resources.
October The President submits the Executive Budget Recommendation to the Committee on Finance of Cook County.
October/November The proposed budget is made available for public review at various locations throughout the County. Public hearings are conducted during which the Committee on Finance considers testimony from service providers, program staff, and the general public. After the hearings have been completed and any amendments inserted, the Board of Commissioners approves and adopts the Appropriation Bill, which authorizes funding and staffing levels for each department.
December The fiscal year begins. The Appropriation Ordinance is implemented on December 1.
Ongoing Monthly expenditure and revenue reports are reviewed to ensure the resources allocated through the Appropriation Ordinance.
We want to hear from you!
What are your ideas for improving county services? What are your ideas for making county government more efficient? How can we improve the budget process for next year? For more information and to share your ideas, visit our website: http://www.cookcountyil.gov/budget or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save the date!
Additionally, a public hearing and online forum will be held on the Preliminary Forecast on July 9, 2019 at 6 p.m. in the Cook County Board Room to obtain constituent feedback on budget priorities. The Department of Budget and Management Services will work closely with residents, elected officials, and County departments to review potential efficiencies and cost savings opportunities that will allow for the presentation of a balanced budget recommendation to the Board of Commissioners in October.