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    Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (top right) speaks on a virtual panel on local American Rescue Plan Act spending hosted by government think tank Results for America.

    As Chicago and Cook County leaders ramp up their reelection campaigns and prepare for fall budget hearings, they’re benefitting daily from a combined nearly $3 billion bonanza of federal money earmarked for a range of new programming from violence prevention and mental health to neighborhood development and cultural grants — most of which has either yet to be spent or has only just hit the streets.

    But with a likely economic slowdown on the horizon, fiscal watchdogs are still waiting to hear how city and county officials plan to keep the bottom from falling out from hundreds of millions of dollars in new programming after the last dollar of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is required to be spent in 2026.

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