The Cook County Board of Commissioners recently amended the ‘Taxing District Debt Disclosure’ ordinance (DDO) to require the submission of additional information to the County Treasurer for posting on that office’s website. As we reported in September 2009 the County Commissioners passed the DDO requiring each taxing district to file an electronic copy of the most recent audited financial statement as well as separate statements of the taxing district’s debts and liabilities, gross property tax levy for the most recent year; and gross operating budget revenue for the most recent fiscal year with the Treasurer’s Office on or before the last Tuesday in December. Since that date, the Treasurer’s Office has made this information available on its website through a searchable database.

The recent amendments, approved on January 19, 2011, focus on pension liabilities, and in particular unfunded pension liabilities. The subject of public pensions has received significant attention of late. Governments at all levels are examining pension obligations and funding levels. The DDO amendments attempt to gather in one place pension funding and liability information for all Cook County taxing districts. The amendments also call for taxing bodies to submit the name of the district’s ‘chief elected official’ and, for the county and municipalities, to submit the total population of the district.

The amended DDO became effective February 1, 2011, and includes a provision that within 60 days, or by April 4, 2011, all taxing districts update their submissions to the Treasurer’s Office to include the newly added requirements under the ordinance. A copy of the amended DDO is available here.