Lake County News: December 2018

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December 20, 2018

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Dear Neighbor,

Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter. Much has occurred since my last note to you. Earlier this month I was elected as Chair of the Lake County Board by my fellow board members. I look forward to working with newly elected County Board Vice-Chair Mary Ross Cunningham, who has served our county for over sixteen years. I am very proud to chair this dedicated board, which includes seven new board members, and I look forward to serving you in this capacity over the next two years. I am confident we will work together as a team to achieve positive results for the residents of Lake County. In addition, Angelo Kyle of Waukegan was elected as President of the Lake County Forest Preserves, and Julie Simpson of Vernon Hills to serve as Vice President. Both will serve two-year terms, which end December 2020.

Ethylene Oxide Emission in Lake County 
I continue to work on and monitor the situation in Gurnee regarding the recent news that ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions from Vantage Specialty Chemicals had not been properly reported by the National Emissions Inventory.  EtO is a colorless gas used in the manufacturing of several industrial chemicals and as a sterilizing agent for medical equipment and supplies. In December of 2016, the USEPA updated the risk status of EtO from “probably carcinogenic to humans” to “carcinogenic to humans." On December 3rd I toured the Vantage plant with Gurnee Mayor Kovarik, Congressman Schneider, Board Members Carlson and Frank, and others. In our meeting, Vantage confirmed that it will install a second scrubber in early 2019 to reduce point emissions of ethylene oxide. The Lake County Health Department has submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the IEPA for the following information:

● EtO emissions data for Sterigenics (Willowbrook, IL), Medline (Waukegan), and Vantage
(Gurnee) for the past 10 years;
● Copies of the facilities’ air operating permits and violations occurring in the past 10 years;
● Permissible EtO emission levels at these facilities.

To fully assess the risk to Lake County residents, the Health Department has requested that the USEPA conduct outdoor air quality monitoring at multiple sampling locations; perform an in-depth investigation of EtO emissions at the two facilities (Medline and Vantage); and share results with Lake County residents,  local, state, and federal agencies.

Questions and concerns should be sent via email to the U.S. EPA at

The Village of Gurnee has done an excellent job communicating to their residents about this issue, and I recommend that you visit their website for more information. Other sites of interest:

County Board recommends new rules


Lake County Board Discontinues P-Cards, establishes Energy & Environment Committee
I am very pleased that in our first meeting as a new board, we voted to discontinue the use of purchasing Cards (P-Cards) by Lake County Board members.  While board members can still use funds for informational mailings and to attend board-related conferences and training, all expenses will be handled by county administration. This saves time, labor, and confusion as to how dollars can be spent by your elected official.


Every month, the Lake County Board participates in committee meetings across the different areas of County Government, such as Public Works, Transportation, Health Department, Law & Judicial, etc. We established a new committee-Environment & Energy-which will consider policies related to  sustainability initiatives, reducing carbon emissions, and impacts related to global warming. Watch this video as Rules Committee Chairman Paul Frank explains more.

Engineering internship job fair

Over 30 top engineering firms will be under one roof to connect with students in various engineering fields at the third annual Lake County Engineering Internship and Job Fair. The event will run from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 4 at the College of Lake County in GrayslakeLearn more


CLC Opens New Science and Engineering Building The College of Lake County recently opened a new $28.3 million Science & Engineering Building, which supports the latest in science and technology education while having several environmentally friendly features. The state-of-the-art building features rooftop solar panels, geothermal heat pumps, LED lighting, a green roof, and rainwater harvesting used in flushing toilets, all of which are part of the building’s goal of pending LEED Platinum certification. During an opening event, visitors saw the the building’s state-of-the-art labs for chemistry, mechatronics and laser/photonics/optics. Find out more

2019 Lake County Budget Keeps $3.4 Million in Taxpayers’ Pockets  
The FY19 operating budget — which funds the County’s day-to-day operations — is $3.3 million less than last year (or 1%). In an effort to provide some relief to taxpayers, this budget does not take the allowable property tax levy increase based on the Consumer Price Index. This keeps $3.4 million in taxpayers’ pockets.  The only increase in property tax revenue will come from growth on new property.

Lake County receives revenue from a variety of sources, such as sales tax, intergovernmental agreements, and charges for services. Lake County’s portion of your property tax payment is about 7%; the rest goes to other taxing bodies, including municipalities, townships, park districts and schools. Lake County’s budget invests in many service areas, from transportation and public safety to health and economic development/jobs. The County Board is committed to fiscal responsibility and delivering cost-effective, efficient services. As a result, the County has implemented operational efficiencies, leveraged technology and cut costs by sharing services between governments, which has made a difference to our bottom line. Lake County government has maintained a AAA credit rating (the highest possible) for more than 20 years due to our strong budgetary performance and well-managed financial operations, along with our strong financial policies and practices, healthy reserves and manageable debt.

To read the budget and learn more about County services and programs, visit

Express Train Service in West Lake Forest
Lake County is proud to be the home of several large pharmaceutical companies, and many of their employees do the reverse commute from Chicago. In a partnership with AbbVie, Horizon Pharma, City of Lake Forest, Metra, Lake County Partners, and Lake County, getting people off the road and on the train just got easier. Metra is testing new reverse-commute service on the Milwaukee District North Line. Previously, the schedule was not ideal for reverse-commute riders to and from Lake Forest because there were no morning outbound express trains, and the afternoon trains were either too early or too late for most workers. "Thanks to the hard work and support of so many local leaders, this unique partnership will give our business community even greater access to workforce talent,” noted Lake County Partners President and CEO Kevin Considine. Learn more

Hart Point-in-Time Homeless Count

Make an Impact on Lake County Homelessness Volunteer for the annual Homeless Point-in-Time (PIT) Homeless Count on Jan. 30, 2019. Each year, the Lake County Coalition for the Homeless holds the Point-in-Time Homeless Count where volunteers search across Lake County to interview and offer assistance to unsheltered people experiencing homelessness. The data gathered helps coordinate services for people experiencing homelessness and allows organizations to track progress toward the goal of ending homelessness. Apply to volunteer.


Lake County Supports Our Veterans
In Lake County, we appreciate the dedication and commitment of the men and women who have served in the United States Military. To honor their service, we offer resources to help veterans and their families. To learn more, visit the Veterans Assistance Commission website, and sign up for their monthly newsletter.

Recorder of Deed's Office Offers Information to Our Veterans
The Lake County Recorder of Deed's Office offers various services to our veterans and their families. This includes being the official keeper of veteran’s military records, or DD214. The Recorder’s Office is happy to provide veterans a free copy of this form upon the completion of a request for discharge record.

Multiple Ways Veterans Can Save Money on Their Property Taxes
Multiple exemptions are available through the Chief County Assessment Office that can help eligible veterans save money on their property taxes. Learn more about the exemptions available to veterans.


Helping Veterans Find Jobs
Lake County Workforce Development offers a variety of job search services and training opportunities to help job seekers gain the necessary skills to be competitive in today’s job market. Veterans receive priority service, which includes specialty workshops. Visit the Job Center of Lake County’s website to learn more.

Open Data and Records Hub

New Site Allows For Easier Data Access
Lake County has launched a new Open Data and Records Hub that makes Lake County government data easily accessible – and searchable — to a broad audience, including residents and taxpayers, enhancing transparency and accountability. Additionally, government employees can now access other departments’ data to help enhance services and drive efficiency. The Open Data and Records Hub centralizes a wide range of data in one place from property taxes and health and recreation to transportation and government contracts and agreements. This new tool allows users to search and discover PDF maps, web mapping applications and other datasets all free of charge. The existing datasets on the Hub will consistently be updated, and Lake County is exploring adding new information, including financial data

Des Plaines River Watershed

Commitment to Water Quality Improvement

The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC) is committed to reducing flood damages and improving water quality. The County Board approved an ordinance to adopt the Des Plaines River Watershed-Based Plan to address water-related issues impacting communities within the Des Plaines River watershed. The Plan identifies more than 3,000 projects that can improve water quality, reduce flood damage, protect and enhance natural resources, provide watershed education opportunities, and improve community cooperation and participation in watershed improvement activities. SMC is also closely monitoring how the FoxConn development at the headwaters of the Des Plaines River watershed will impact property owners. 

Flood insurance

Unincorporated Residents May Be Eligible for Flood Insurance Premium Discount
Property owners residing in unincorporated Lake County may be eligible to save an average of $281 a year on their flood insurance policies through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Community Rating System (CRS) program. Residents within unincorporated Lake County who meet certain requirements are eligible for up 20% savings on flood insurance premiums. Property owners should contact their flood insurance agent to obtain individual savings information. If you live within a village or city, contact your municipality to see if they participate in the CRS program.  Learn more

Public Works sustainability improvements

Public Works Sustainability Improvements

With more than 200 lakes and rivers in the county, it’s important to keep our water safe. Lake County Public Works has been working hard to increase their sustainability efforts to their water operations, from taking phosphorous and nutrients out of wastewater that can be harmful to aquatic life, to performing energy audits performed in coordination with the Illinois EPA. Watch Video

Deicing 101

Making it a Priority to Use Salt Responsibly

Using salt to de-ice roads is a common method to make roads less slick, but that salt washes away into lakes and streams or seeps into groundwater supplies which can threaten aquatic plants and animals, and even human health. Lake County makes it a priority to use salt wisely while maintaining the highest level of service.

Watch this video
to learn more how Lake County agencies are working with public and private partners to take steps to reduce salt by using safe alternatives - like beet juice. This is the 10th year that the County hosted the Annual Deicing Workshop to promote alternative winter maintenance practices and the importance of responsible road salt use to snow and ice professionals.


State roads

Give Feedback on State’s Transportation Infrastructure

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is looking for your feedback about the condition of the state’s transportation infrastructure. IDOT is responsible for maintaining federal and state highways in Illinois. That means in Lake County they are responsible for state routes like IL 22, IL 132, IL 60 and IL 120 – and federal highways like U.S. 45 and U.S. 12. Take the survey!

shoe recycling

Recycle Your Shoes and Clothing 
As you discover a growing pile of shoes and clothing that no longer fits, don’t throw them away! Keep them out of the landfills and recycle it all instead. As part of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County's Reuse-A-Shoe program, new locations have opened to bring your new and gently used shoes including drop-off bins in Deerfield, Gages Lake, Port Barrington and Vernon Hills.

Learn more about the Reuse-A-Shoe program, including all locations and what items are accepted. And, make sure to learn about all of SWALCO’s recycling programs, including clothing and textiles, household electronics and household chemical waste.

New Year's celebration

New Year’s Celebration  Join us on Thursday, Jan. 3 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Dunn Museum in Libertyville to learn how people around the world celebrate the start of the new year with crafts and activities. For families with children ages 12 and under.  Learn more »

LCFPD winter recreation

Winter Recreation and Solar-lit Trails
Before heading out to a Lake County Forest Preserve for a winter hike or a twirl on the ice, check the status map on the winter sports page.

Solar-lit Evening Hikes
With small solar lights to guide their way, hikers, skiers and snowshoers can get some brisk evening exercise along the 1.3-mile fitness trail at Old School Forest Preserve in Libertyville and along a 1.65-mile hilly section of the Millennium Trail adjacent to the Winter Sports Area at Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda.

Though regular preserve hours are 6:30 a.m. to sunset, the illuminated trails and adjacent parking lots will remain open after sunset until 9 p.m., daily through Sunday, March 10. Bicycle and equestrian traffic are not permitted on the lighted trails after sunset. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed.

To access the lighted trails, park at Lakewood's Winter Sports Area located on the east side of Fairfield Road just south of Route 176, or at Old School's main entrance lot located on the east side of St. Mary's Road just south of Route 176. Lake County Forest Preserve Rangers regularly patrol the areas. Learn more »

As always, it is an honor to represent you on the Lake County Board and the Forest Preserve Board. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or suggestions you may have. Thank you and best wishes to you and your family for a peaceful and safe holiday season and a healthy and happy 2019.

Sandy Hart Signature
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