Cook County offers emergency loans to resource-strapped local governments

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Preckwinkle said the modest $5 million in interest and administrative fees the county will bear is worth it, given that some units in high-poverty areas struggle to pay their bills in good times.

The program will allow governments to borrow between 50% and 100% of their deferred property taxes, depending on how much money they have. Eligible governments must also have a bond rating at least one notch below the county’s A2 from Moody’s Investors Service, A+ from S&P and AA- from Fitch Ratings.

The first checks will go out in September.

“We are taking action to help the tax agencies most affected by the distribution delays,” Preckwinkle said in a statement. “These property tax delays will disproportionately affect tax districts in disinvested and low-income communities, which is why it’s critical that we get this program up and running and help our residents as soon as possible.”

Only suburban government units in Cook County will be eligible, with priority given to those that are economically stressed and provide vital services.

County Assessor Fritz Kaegi and the Board of Review, which hears appeals of proposed property assessments, have pointed fingers at each other, arguing over which computer system should have been used in the tax-setting process and related matters.

The full board is expected to consider the proposal next week.

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