Open Office Hours, Lake County Budget, Veterans, and more

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Sandy Hart, District 13

October 16, 2015

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I hope this email finds you well and enjoying the beautiful fall weather!  As your Lake County Government and Forest Preserve representative, it is important to me that I hear your concerns and questions about living and working in Lake County.  To that end, I will have open office hours in mid-November.  For your convenience I will also be available on three evenings.

  • Thursday, Nov. 12, 9:00-11:00am     Warren Newport Library, 224 O’Plaine Rd., Gurnee
  • Friday, Nov. 13, 8:30-10:30am         Bluffington’s Café, 113 E. Scranton, Lake Bluff
  • Tuesday, Nov. 17, 9-11am       Heather Ridge Clubhouse, 5900 Heather Ridge Dr., Gurnee
  • Tuesday, Nov. 17, 7:00-9:00pm       Warren Newport Library, 224 O’Plaine Rd., Gurnee
  • Wednesday, Nov. 18, 7-9pm          Lake Bluff Park District, 355 W. Washington, Lake Bluff
  • Thursday, Nov. 19, 8:30-10:30am    Something’s Brewing, 1126 E. Washington, Grayslake
  • Thursday, Nov. 19, 7:00-9:00pm      Bake’s Restaurant, 33251 US 45, Wildwood

If you are unable to attend one of these sessions but would like to speak with me, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 224-212-0331 or via email at

If you are interested in having me attend a local event to speak about the County or Forest Preserves please let me know.  As always, it is a pleasure to serve you.  

Sandy Hart Signature

2016 Lake County Budget

Next week the County Board will meet to discuss the proposed $496.3MM FY2016 budget. You can access the  the FY 2016 Recommended Budget here.  I recommend reading pages 32-44 for a good summary of our revenue and expenses.  For budget meeting times and locations, visit this websiteSome key points:

  • Lake County remains AAA-rated, allowing us to borrow money at the lowest rate.
  • This is a balanced budget and is $6MM less than last year.  Headcount is down by 25. 
  • Approximately 32% of the revenue is from property taxes. 
  • Due to the uncertainty of the State budget, we must plan for potential funding cuts.  We have set aside $3.7MM in anticipation of these cuts.  If funding cuts do not occur, these monies will be used for long-term capital investment.

In order to maintain a balanced budget and our strong rating, we adhere to strict policies, some of which are:  

  • If state-funded programs lose funding, the program is discontinued
  • A five year plan for capital improvements is developed and updated annually.
  • We do not use one-time money for ongoing expenses, nor do we use debt for operations.
  • We prioritize sharing services with local government agencies for operational efficiency (building inspections, law enforcement)
  • We use data to align operational staffing levels.

Lake County remains fiscally stable due to our focus on strategic, long-term, data-driven decision-making, and our commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Veterans History Project

Veterans History Project Works To Keep Stories Alive

Many memorials will take place on November 11 to honor the men and women who have served during times of war, but these memorials do not tell the personal stories of hardship, sacrifice and heroism. By interviewing veterans, the Lake County Veterans History Project captures these stories so current and future generations can understand and appreciate what they did in service to our country. Watch this video to meet some veterans who took part in the project. To learn more, visit our web page.  If you would like to share your story or would like to volunteer to interview a veteran, please email me for additional information. 

Fort Sheridan Revised Concept Plan

A revised concept plan for the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve was approved by the Planning and Restoration Committee (on which I serve) in August.  In preparation of this most recent plan, Forest Preserve staff gathered additional data to guide the plan, including on-site surveys, comment review, and patterns of visitor and parking lot use.  Three parking lots were monitored four times per day, every day, March 17-August 17.  As a result of their study, staff concluded that 65 total spaces are needed at the preserve for efficient utilization of space, and the revised plan shows that the existing lot at the southeast (Gilgare Lane) will remain but would be reduced to approximately 45 spaces.  With this plan there is potential to share services with neighboring municipalities and other agencies and we will reduce impervious surface and costs. 

As you may know, I was very concerned that the elimination of the parking lot at Gilgare Lane would restrict access.  I am very happy with this revised plan and appreciate the time that residents took to view the plan and provide feedback.  The data-gathering done by staff was exhaustive and time-consuming, but I believe it resulted in an excellent plan for Fort Sheridan.  Staff will next develop a final master plan and cost estimates. View the revised concept plan. To learn more, visit the forest preserves project website. To provide comments, send an email to

Route 53 

Lake County and local mayors have been working for many months on a land use corridor plan for the proposed IL Route 53.  You can learn about this draft plan and submit feedback by mail, email or online.  More information.  To learn more about the proposed IL Route 53 extension, visit

Route 137 Bike Path Public Information Meeting on November 4

The Lake County Division of Transportation (LCDOT) is hosting a Public Information Meeting for the study of a bike path along the IL Rte. 137 corridor between the Independence Grove Forest Preserve and Sheridan Road.  This bike path would provide a connection between the Robert McClory bike path and the DesPlaines River Trail.  Participants will see the proposed project and schedule and provide feedback. 

Wed., Nov. 4, 6:00-8:00 pm at Independence Grove Forest Preserve, Libertyville. 

Bike Lake County App

New Lake County Highways and Bikeways Map

The latest edition of the Lake County Highways and Bikeways map is now available. This popular resource contains important roadway information on one side and a comprehensive map of bike paths and trails on the other side. Bike path users can tap into this mapping technology right from their phone using the mobile-friendly Bike Lake County interactive bike map. The app allows cyclists and pedestrians to use their smart phone to measure distance, see topography, share routes, and view trail connections. Visit LCDOT’s website to for additional resources on the new bikeways section and find out how you can share your pictures of your next ride.  To get a paper copy, please contact me or call 

Bring Hard-To-Recycle Items to Lake County Div. of Transportation on Oct. 24

Get rid of your hard-to-recycle items at Recycle-O-Rama from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Lake County Division of Transportation, 600 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville. Propane tanks, bikes, keys, stuffed animals, car seats and a whole lot more will be accepted. View the complete list of accepted items

Prescription Drug Disposal at SWALCO and Local Police Departments

Through the generosity of the Save-A-Star Foundation, residents can dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs safely at over 27 police departments across Lake County.  When medications are kept in homes, flushed down the toilet or thrown out in the trash, there are environmental, health, and safety concerns.   Last month I watched as three police departments brought these drugs to SWALCO so they can be rendered ineffective and disposed of properly.  Over 9,184 lbs. (4.5 tons) of drugs have been collected since February 2015.  Of this, over 47 lbs. were controlled substances, with a combined street value of over $646,000. There has been a concentrated legislative effort on both the east and west coasts to increase the number of these sites by collaborating with manufacturers, retailers, hospitals, and health clinics to collect more pharmaceuticals and keep them out of the hands of children and protect our environment.  This is just one of many strategies being utilized to combat the current-and growing-opiate addiction crisis in the United States.


Sheriff’s Office Receives Funding for Body Cameras

The Lake County Sheriff's Office has received federal funding to purchase body-worn cameras for Sheriff's deputies as part of the Body-Worn Camera Pilot Implementation Program. The  Sheriff’s Office was one of only three Illinois law enforcement agencies to be awarded this funding.  The Sheriff's Office will be placing an order for 292 body cameras, which will be worn by sworn members of the Sheriff’s Office who interact with the public on a daily basis. Find more info on the Sheriff’s Office website


Cybercrime Unit Works To Protect Children 

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Cybercrime Unit pursues online predators who seek to meet underage children and those who possess inappropriate images and videos of children. Follow these officers as they conduct a search warrant for a man believed to be in possession of child pornography. Persons placed under arrest are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Watch video

text a tip

Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Text-A-Tip Goes Countywide

Lake County teens who may be struggling or know someone who may be struggling with mental health issues can get immediate assistance using a text-communication system called Text-A-Tip. Users can text the phrase “LAKECO” to the number 274637 to receive a response from a licensed clinician while remaining anonymous. Watch this video to find out how Text-A-Tip can help save lives.

strategic plan

Lake County Reports Progress on Strategic Plan

Lake County’s Strategic Plan, which serves as our road map over the next several years, identifies five strategic goals related to transportation, sustainability, healthy communities, economic opportunities and public safety. Residents helped shape the plan by providing input at a series of community forums. Residents also said  they wanted to stay informed on progress being made toward these goals. In an effort to be more accountable, accessible and transparent, we’ve posted our progress here.  

election petition

Petition Packets Available for March Primary Election

Established political party Lake County candidates who want to appear on the March 2016 General Primary Election ballot can get petition packets at Candidates can also visit the Lake County Clerk's Office for paper copies until Nov. 30. Call 847-377-2314 for more information.

Election Judges Needed for 2016 Election. Apply Now

The Lake County Clerk's Office is seeking election workers for the 2016 presidential elections on March 15 and Nov. 8. Apply by visiting the county clerk’s election workers web page. For information, call 847-377-2408.


Dog Comforts Child Victims of Abuse 

Mitchell, a yellow Labrador retriever, will help provide comfort, compassion and companionship to children who are involved in crimes involving sexual and physical abuse. Mitchell will work with the Children’s Advocacy Center, which assists with the investigation and prosecution of these crimes. A professionally certified and trained service dog, Mitchell will accompany children when needed as they talk with officials about their abuse. Watch this video to learn more about Mitchell.


Know Who To Contact If You Encounter A Bat

The Lake County Health Department is urging anyone who has direct contact with a bat or notices a bat acting in an unusual manner to contact Animal Care and Control at (847) 377-4700. You may encounter bats more frequently during fall since some bats are migrating and others are looking for a place to stay during the winter. Bats are the only animals that have tested positive for rabies in Lake County. More info


Have Fun This Fall 

The weather is getting cooler. Leaves are changing. Fall is coming. From pumpkin patches to family festivals and haunted houses, Visit Lake County has your guide to enjoy Lake County this season. Discover what to do this fall.

October is Oak Awareness Month

Happy OAKtober!  This fall, plant a tree and watch it grow. Join the Lake County Forest Preserves on Oct. 18 to learn what we are doing to help local oaks and how other agencies also are helping to shape how we think about trees in the Chicago region. More information


County Celebrates End of Construction at Rollins Road and IL 83

Lake County recently celebrated the completion of the single largest construction project in LCDOT's history! The grade separation and intersection improvement at Rollins Road and IL Route 83 is complete. Watch this video of the Rollins Gateway celebration to learn more about how this project has improved transportation in Central Lake County. 

rollins video



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