We have had a busy six months since the new County Board was seated, focusing on good government, collaboration, and transparency. We now film all standing committees, enabling you to watch how your money is spent on your time and how your board member is representing you. Contractors now disclose family relationships with county board employees when they submit bids. We've taken away board member procurement cards, tightening controls and oversight. We've created a new committee focused on consolidating and/or dissolving government entities to save taxpayers money and improve efficiencies.
I am also very pleased that the State Senate and House overwhelmingly approved an issue that I requested to be added to our Lake County Legislative Agenda which provides the ability for the Board to remove the County Board Chair. As the current Chairwoman, I advocated for this authority, as it is a basic tenet of good government to allow my (or subsequent Chair) removal if my colleagues are unhappy with my performance.
I continue to work toward an alternative to incarceration or Emergency Rooms for people in crisis as a result of living with serious mental illness. I am honored to partner with an outstanding group of dedicated people - social workers, judges, law enforcement, and just people who care to evaluate best practices to find one that will work for Lake County.
This month we kick off our working group to begin to tackle the recommendations from our Paratransit Report. We know there is a better way to provide transportation for our seniors and disabled residents, and I am grateful to this group of elected officials and experts for volunteering their time.
Our board recently completed sessions to discuss the County Board’s Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan, which is updated every two years, is the road map for our County government, which influences how we prioritize and invest our resources. Main goal topics included public safety, advancing economic opportunity, transportation and other infrastructure, a sustainable environment, and expanding and improving social services. Our staff is currently compiling the results of our consensus-based goals and strategies and is drafting measurable actions to implement each one. After we complete discussion on the Strategic Plan draft, the document will move forward for County Board adoption, currently scheduled for July.
I had the honor to meet with Governor Pritzker to discuss Lake County’s infrastructure needs, and I joined Lake County leaders to present these needs in the areas of transportation, stormwater, affordable housing and mental health services before the Illinois Senate Subcommittee on Capital hearing that was held here in Lake County. I am pleased to report that the Illinois General Assembly recently approved a $45 billion statewide construction program. This new funding will enable the Illinois Department of Transportation to implement projects on Lake County's State Highway Consensus Plan, which has a backlog of over $1 billion worth of projects on state routes in Lake County.
I also recently spoke at Lake County Partners’ Big Event, which brought together hundreds of business and civic leaders to focus on continued collaboration and business growth. Lake County's economy is booming, and our workforce is growing in a way that we aren't seeing elsewhere in the region. I encourage you to check out Lake County Partners' Annual Report to find out more. I was happy to use a portion of my speech to thank our outstanding employees for their hard work and expertise that they bring to work every day on your behalf.
The Lake County Board also approved its Rules of Order and Operational Procedures in May. I’m proud to report that the new rules address a number of transparency measures, which includes posting board member expenses on the County website.
Every month I report to my colleagues on my previous month's work. I've included the May and June Report for your reference. I hope you will take a moment to read about some of things we are working toward to improve the quality of life in Lake County.