Category: Latest News

Disabled Veterans Exemption Expansion


Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed into a law a bill that would expand property tax breaks to severely wounded military veterans. Senate Bill 107 expands the existing multi-tiered set of exemptions from local property taxes for homeowners who have a service-connected injury, with a disability of at least 30 percent. Veterans with a disability of 30 to 49 percent, as certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, would receive a $2,500 annual exemption. Those with disabilities of between 50 to 69 percent would qualify for a $5,000 yearly exemption. And qualified homes of wounded veterans with a service-connected disability of at least 70 percent would be exempted from all property tax payments.

The law mandates that taxpayers granted an exemption under the new law must re-apply on an annual basis. The assessors or chief assessment officers for the Illinois counties where applicants live will determine the eligibility of residential property to receive the levels of tax relief implemented under the new law. [Click here to read the remainder of this news article]

While the Disabled Veterans Exemption is not a new exemption, this recent legislation increases the amount of Disabled Veterans Exemption savings and expands eligibility for the Exemption. Although the new law has an immediate effective date, the changes to the Disabled Veterans Exemption will not go into effect until the next tax year (Tax Year 2015, which begins on January 1, 2016).– The Cook County Assessor’s Office (CCAO) will have application forms ready for taxpayers beginning on January 1, 2016. These application forms will be made available on the CCAO website –


Emerald Ash Borer Tree Removal

The Forest Preserves of Cook County will be removing of trees impacted by the Emerald Ash Borer -trees to be removed have been marked with orange “Xs” throughout Cook County . Tree removal in the Skokie Division (Dundee Rd to Lake Ave, along the North Branch trail) has already begun, while tree removeal in the Deer Grove West area will begin mid-October.The Preserve will only be removing trees that pose a potential hazard for the general public and the visitors to both the Skokie Lagoons and Deer Grove.

For more information about these projects, and to track their progress, visit For more information on Emerald Ash Borer, visit If you are interested in learning more about Emerald Ash Borer, visit



Upcoming Special Events in the Forest Preserves

Check out some of the great upcoming events in the Cook County Forest Preserves:

October 7
4:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Canoe & Archery Skills Class at Rolling Knolls, Elgin
Discover two of our most popular outdoor activities! First, learn all about paddling with our instructors and then take part in an archery workshop to learn tips and techniques. Ages 10 & up.
October 9
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Family Night Out: Stars, Stories and S’Mores at Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion, Chicago
Bring the family and enjoy an evening in the forest! We’ll have a fire, storytelling, snacks and other nature activities.
October 10
9:00 a.m. – noon
Wellness in the Woods at Swallow Cliff Stairs, Palos Hills
Get invigorated for the fall season! Awaken your senses in the outdoors with a yoga workshop that will improve flow of movement and breath, get information on fall fitness in the preserves and more. All ages. Call (708)386-4121 to register.
October 12
1:30 p.m.
Holiday Program: Fall Colors at Sand Ridge Nature Center, South Holland
Join us on Columbus Day and discover how leave turn colors this time of year. We’ll conclude with a short hike
October 16
8:30 p.m.
Starry, Starry Night at Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, Willow Springs
Adults, this one is for you! Enjoy an evening stroll under the fall stars followed by a tasty treat around the campfire. Adults only. Register by 10/14. Limit 20.



Summer Food Service Program

The Summer Food Service Program provides free meals over the summer to kids less than 18 years of age in communities where more than 50% of the population is over the poverty line. At meal sites, children can receive a healthy meal in a safe place to eat and build friendship – many sites also offer educational activities and games. If you are interested in learning more about Summer Food Service Program sites in your area, visit


Stepping Up Initiative

At the May 20th Board meeting, I sponsored and passed the  “Stepping Up Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails”, supported by President Preckwinkle and Sherriff Dart.

Cook County takes pride in its responsibility to protect and enhance the health, welfare and safety of its residents in efficient and cost-effective ways; and has successfully reduced its total jail population by 20% since 2013; and is implementing creative approaches to best meet these goals.

Counties nationwide routinely provide treatment services to the estimated 2 million people with serious mental illnesses booked into jail each year. Without appropriate treatment and services, people with mental illnesses continue to cycle through the criminal justice system, often resulting in tragic outcomes for these individuals and their families. Adults with mental illnesses tend to stay longer in jail and upon release are at a higher risk of recidivism.

The initiative is a partnership with the National Association of Counties, the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the American Psychiatric Foundation, which will examine treatment and service capabilities in order to determine programs available to people with mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders, to safely reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails.

To learn more about the initiative, visit