Chicago and Cook County outline ways to save money

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 14, 2011 2:29 AM

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Illinois' biggest county and biggest city could save up to $140 million a year through collaboration, joint purchasing and shared services, according to a report released on Monday.

With both Chicago and Cook County looking to pare their budgets to deal with sagging revenue, the report outlined several areas where the two governments could work together to save or gain money.

The biggest benefit could come from sharing data to step up tax collections, while other areas include combining custodial services and moving maintenance for county vehicles to city facilities.

"This report is a blueprint for reform," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "It paves the way for a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the city and county in order to more efficiently deliver our residents with the best services for the best price."

Emanuel, who took office last month, has pegged the deficit in the city's upcoming fiscal 2012 budget at $700 million. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said she faced a $487 million deficit when she took over late last year.

(Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by Dan Grebler)