CHICAGO - The Cook County, Ill., Board of Commissioners this week approved a controversial measure authorizing the county to issue $740 million of new money and the ability to refund its entire $3.1 billion general obligation debt portfolio.

The approval came after a days-long debate sparked by some commissioners who warned the debt could push the county into a fiscal crisis similar to those in Jefferson County, Ala., or Vallejo, Calif., and that the borrowing plan as originally worded handed too much power to county board President Todd Stroger and chief financial officer Donna Dunnings, who is Stroger's cousin.

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