Accomplishments

I am proud of everything the Lake County Board has been able to accomplish in 2019-2020 under my leadership as Chair.

Transparency and Accountability

  • Eliminated taxpayer-funded credit cards for county board members
  • Video recording of all committee meetings
  • Disclosure of all campaign contributions and family relationships by vendors
  • Overhaul of Ethics Ordinance, including addition of a conduct section that prohibits sexual harassment and bullying, making it clear that elected officials must follow the employee codes of conduct

Caring for Our Residents

  • Recognized for ending veteran homelessness; the systems we have in place will ensure that any veteran experiencing homelessness will get the support they need to quickly obtain a permanent home
  • Helped launch 211 by working closely with the United Way of Lake County
  • Performing breast and cervical cancer screenings for low-income residents
  • Mental Health Awareness Training
  • Accepted Department of Justice grant for the A Way Out Program
  • Accepted SAMHSA grant to create a mental illness/substance abuse team that will serve individuals experiencing homelessness in Lake County
  • Lake County Summer Youth Work Experience Program for 215 eligible youth

Taxpayer Focused

  • Froze property tax levy for first time in at least 20 years.
  • Balanced budget/slight reduction in tax bill. Froze levy for first time in a generation
  • Refinanced bonds, saving $7 million
  • Breaking property taxes into four installments
  • Executed intergovernmental agreements with Lake Villa to provide building inspection and plan review services, and with Beach Park to receive those services for remote unincorporated areas. Both agreements will lead to increased efficiency and cost savings
  • Doubled Stormwater Management Commission budget
    • Obtained $1.2 million in grant funding from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for seven projects, which will reduce pollution and improve water quality in the Des Plaines River, North Branch Chicago River, and Fox River watersheds
    • Initiated plan development for the Lake Michigan and North Branch Chicago River watersheds to address water, flooding, and stormwater-related issues.
    • Began reviewing the Watershed Development Ordinance to makes updates based on the increased rainfall Lake County is experiencing. The revisions are expected to take effect in 2020.
    • Completed the merger with the Lakes Region Sanitary District, which will result in the elimination of $1.3 million in property taxes in 2021
  • More funding for Veterans Assistance Commission to help veterans
  • Consolidate Recorder of Deeds and Clerk’s Office question on November ballot
  • First ever multi-year Capital Improvement Plan
  • Passed Responsible Bidder Ordinance
  • First county in the state to launch a Driver’s License Reinstatement program
  • Moved Regional Office of Education out of rented College of Lake County space and into Central Permit Facility, saving over $100,000/year
  • Working with local municipalities to share data and services
  • Intergovernmental agreements with North Chicago to share public safety data
  • Multiple contracts between Lake County Sheriff’s Office and municipalities to share law enforcement costs
  • Multiple contracts with Lake County Planning, Building, and Development to share costs of inspection programs
  • Elimination of legacy commissions, saving taxpayer money
    • Seavey Drainage District
    • Lakes Sanitary Drainage District ($1.3 MM/year)
    • Del Mar Woods Sanitary District
    • Beach Park Drainage District

Legislative Committee

  • $540 Million in road funds from 2019 capital bill. Major improvements funded (Route 176, etc.), successful advocacy of capital bill dollars
  • $220 Million in funding for capital programs in 2020 State Budget

Environment

  • Created Energy & Environment Committee
  • Elimination of Route 53 from County’s strategic plan
  • County vehicle fleet going partially electric/hybrid, emission controls
  • Comprehensive environmental stewardship plan
  • Approved the addition of automatic engine shutoff to existing fleet vehicles for traffic lights
  • Rewrote Strategic Plan to include climate change
  • Approved addition of a Sustainability Manager
  • Working on creation of a path to Net Zero by 2040 for all Lake County buildings
  • Approved the placement of solar panels on at least ten Lake County buildings and ensured that Lake County is the lead on shared solar projects across the county
  • Began debate of a leaf-burning ban for unincorporated areas
  • Approved Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program
  • Aligned county with Paris Climate Accords
  • Approved Lake County’s participation in the County Climate Coalition
  • Approved expansion of the Lake County Adult Corrections Food Scrap Composting and Recycling Project into the Waukegan facility
  • Passed a resolution endorsing the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus’ Greenest Region Compact
  • Coordinated a comprehensive packet of zoning text amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance including amendments related to local food, solar energy, rural business, and review process improvements.
  • Achieved a SolSmart Bronze designation from the US Department of Energy, which recognized the work Lake County has done to reduce barriers to solar energy and streamline solar permitting
  • Converted sanitary sewer treatment processes to minimize chemical use and significantly reduce phosphorus discharge, which can lead to harmful algae blooms

Equity

  • Established Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a fixed holiday for Lake County employees
  • Diversity and Inclusion addition to employee policies (6/20)
    • Affinity groups for employees
  • Lake County is a welcoming community resolution (2/20)
  • Raising of Pride Flag (6/20)
  • Monthly celebration of different ethnicities

Law & Judicial

  • Added headcount to support residents who cannot afford to hire an attorney (self-represented litigants)
  • Monetary support for text app to notify public defender clients of their date in court, reducing their no-show rates and subsequent warrant arrests
  • Received a grant focused on helping jail high utilizers, connecting them with housing, employment, substance use recovery, and physical/mental health treatment
  • Monetary support for Crisis Intervention Training for all county law enforcement, resulting in de-escalation tactics and referrals for mental health treatment
  • Adding three victim advocates to the Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center.

Transportation

  • More than $130 million in road projects under construction
  • Completed the reconstruction of Wilson at Nippersink Road
  • Completed improvements at Hunt Club Road and Grand Avenue
  • Opened the Route 45 Millburn Bypass, a project first conceived of 25 years ago
  • Initiated a bike path and wayfinding signage study so the public can better locate where they are on trails and more easily find connecting destinations

SWALCO

  • Developed educational materials on how to properly recycle and compost household waste
  • Collected more than 350,000 pounds of clothing and textiles, 50,000 pounds of shoes, and 3 million pounds of electronics through its various recycling programs
  • Expanded food scrap diversion programs, with more than a dozen restaurants and six schools implementing food scrap collection programs for the first time in 2019
  • The County’s Adult Corrections program continues to divert over 50% of its waste with most going to Midwest Organics recycling facility near Island Lake
  • Lake County leads Illinois in the number of residential food scrap collection programs with 21 municipal/township programs, with five providing year-round food scrap collection service
  • The pharmaceutical collection program, a partnership with the Lake County Sheriff’s office, is on target to collect and destroy over 13,000 pounds, and over $700,000 worth of controlled substances
  • The household chemical waste collection program held 28 collection events and collected HCW from over 7,000 vehicles
  • Lake County continues to have the largest and most cost-effective (free) electronics program in the state. On target to collect and recycling over 3 million pounds in 2019

Forest Preserves

  • Full ownership of Oriole Grove in Lake Bluff; it will now be protected in perpetuity
  • Created master plan for Lakewood Forest Preserve, our largest preserve
  • Expanded Millennium Trail
  • Constructed a wetland mitigation bank at Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve by returning former farm fields to a sustainable natural condition
  • District received grants/donations/intergovernmental agreements of $38,087,274
  • Saved $3,594,970 by refinancing referendum bonds
  • Hiring program at Greenbelt Forest Preserves
  • The Lake County Forest Preserves received a 75% favorable rating, the highest of any county
  • The District has undertaken continuous training and improvement on inclusion and unconscious bias

Forest Preserve Public Access and Connections

  • The District has undertaken the following public access projects
    • Fort Sheridan public access improvements
    • Everett Road trail connection
    • Buffalo Creek access improvements
    • Spring Bluff access improvements
    • Waukegan Dog Park
    • Ethel’s Woods
    • Rollins Savanna trail connection
    • Hastings Lake trail connection
    • Lakewood Master Planning
    • ADA assessment of all District facilities

Conservation

  • 216 acres were acquired and will now be protected in perpetuity
  • Full ownership of Oriole Grove and Prairie Wolf Forest Preserves and they will now be protected in perpetuity
  • 450 turtles adopted so far
  • Restoration projects
    • Buffalo Creek Mitigation at Wright Woods
    • Greenbelt Restoration
    • Cuba Marsh Habitat Restoration
    • Ethel’s Woods North Mill Creek Restoration
    • Fort Sheridan GLFER Restoration
    • Fourth Lake Hepatica Restoration
    • Grant Woods Restoration
    • Middlefork Buckthorn Project
    • Woodland Amphibian Reintroduction
    • Spring Bluff Wetland Connecting
    • Southern DPR Preserve Habitat Restoration
    • Singing Hills/Kettle Grove Restoration
    • Cuneo Phase 1 Restoration
    • Prairie Wolf Mitigation Project
    • Old School Phase II Restoration
    • Lakewood Habitat Restoration