Early voting/vote by mail, Proposed 2019 budget keeps $3.4 million in taxpayers' pockets, and More

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October 12, 2018

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November 6, 2018 Election News

November 2018 election

Early Voting
In-person early voting for the Nov. 6 Election is now available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Oct. 19 at the Lake County Clerk’s Office, 18 N. County St., Waukegan.

Beginning Oct. 22 through Nov. 5, early voting will be available at 16 early voting sites throughout the county. Use any early voting site regardless of where you live. Some sites offer evening and weekend hours. Find an early voting site near you.

Vote by Mail
Registered voters wishing to vote by mail must submit a completed electronic application or paper application to the Clerk’s office by noon Nov. 1. Voted ballots must be returned to the Clerk’s office bearing a postmark no later than midnight on Nov. 6. Complete your vote by mail application.

More Information
Visit LakeCountyClerk.info and click on the “November 2018 Election” icon to find voter registration information, preview your ballot, and details on how to vote by mail, early, or on Election Day. 

Proposed 2019 Budget Keeps $3.4 Million in Taxpayers’ Pockets

The proposed Lake County 2019 budget is balanced and the operating budget reflects a slight decrease from last year. The Lake County Board will hold budget hearings on the proposed budget later this month and will vote on it at its November meeting. In an effort to provide some relief to taxpayers, the County Board directed that the budget be developed keeping the County’s property tax levy flat (or not taking the allowable levy growth 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. (As a reminder, Lake County’s portion of your property tax bill is about 7%). The proposed FY19 operating budget—which funds the County’s day-to-day operations—is $3.3 million less than last year (or 1%) as a result of efficiencies from shared services with other governments, technology enhancements, and operational improvements. The budget can be viewed at lakecountyil.gov/budget.

County to Strengthen P-Card Program Policies

Following an analysis of Lake County’s P-card program, an independent firm concluded that there is not widespread misuse of Lake County P-Cards. However, the firm recommended Lake County update its policy, processes and procedures. Lake County has approximately 260 County-issued P-Cards used by employees, some board members and elected officials for County business related expenses. The firm analyzed a sample of Lake County P-card transactions representing 52% of total spending for 12 months and reviewed best practices from across the country. While the County has a policy that specifically defines appropriate expenses, the study’s findings show there are gaps that can be improved with stronger internal controls. Recommendations to be immediately implemented include: updating current practices and refining procedures to better document approvals and handle exceptions (including personal charges and late submissions); implementing regular departmental reviews of active cards and credit limits, as well as additional training.  The Board will also consider policy changes and updates to its rules that govern board members’ P-card use and consider measures to improve transparency, including posting P-card transactions to the County website.

P-Cards are a valuable procurement and payment tool used by governments, as well as businesses, because it reduces length of time to make a purchase or pay vendor, can decrease transaction costs and earn revenue through rebates. The Committee will review and discuss the action plan for implementing the recommendations at its next meeting.

Watch this video with Finance & Administration Chair, Mike Rummel.

Board Considers Measures to Enhance Procurement Policies

In an effort to strengthen its already strong policies as it relates to purchasing goods and services, the Lake County Board is considering changes that will require vendors submitting proposals for more than $30,000 to disclose familial relationships with County employees. The Board already approved internal policy changes that require employees to annually review ethics and purchasing rules, and attest that they understand and agree to adhere to them.

The Board recently discussed a proposal that would require vendors submitting proposals to submit a “Vendor Disclosure Statement” disclosing the names of each owner/principal/officer of the company, along with those individuals’ immediate family members who are employed by Lake County. Purchasing officers will compare the statement with the staff members serving on the evaluation panel and verify that those employees are eligible to serve. The Board wants to discuss further how to broaden this and make this information more transparent. The Finance Committee will take up the item next month.  

Mike Rummel, Chair of the Board’s Finance and Administration Committee, said, “We already have one of the strongest Ethics Ordinances that govern our process and protect against influence or impropriety. Our ethics standards set us apart from other local governments and they view us as a model. Still, there are examples of some other local governments doing additional disclosures, so we are considering adding these measures to enhance what we already do.”

The Lake County Board adopted Ethics Ordinance clearly outlines the ethical and legal standards that county officers and employees must follow while conducting county business. It also puts a process in place to reviewing complaints and gives the county administrator authority to administer disciplinary action up to and including termination. 

Government Procurement Spotlight: Professional Services

In local government, much of what we do and how we do it is dictated by State and sometimes Federal laws. For example, Lake County government purchases a variety of goods and services and there are different ways to procure those services depending on what it is.  For example, when hiring architects, engineers and land surveyors, Lake County (and local governments) are required to use the Professional Services Selection process and award these contracts through a “Qualifications Based Selection.” This allows the County to evaluate a firm based on experience and expertise relative to the project, and cost is negotiated after the most highly rated firm is selected. 

How does it work? When professional services are needed, the department develops the project scope and then publicly advertises the request for services. Interested firms submit a Statement of Interest (SOI) and Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) and a selection committee –made up of professionals from the department—evaluate the proposals and select a minimum of three firms to participate in an interview/presentation. They rank the firms based on several criteria, including their expertise and past related experience.   The County then begins negotiating the number of hours it will take to complete the scope of services. The final contract is then presented to the Lake County Board for approval.   

Following this process is required by State and Federal law; it provides value to the County and helps us deliver cost-effective, efficient services to our residents because our Lake County team of professionals has selected the most qualified firm to perform the work, and these firms are then qualified to do similar work in the future, based on their past successful performance.  Learn More: Qualifications Based Selection FAQ’s

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

Sheriff’s Office Pilots New Crisis Outreach and Support Team

Crisis intervention team

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is piloting a new collaborative program with the Lake County Health Department called the Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COaST) to support residents with mental or behavioral health illness who interact with law enforcement.

Within approximately three days of a law enforcement officer encountering a mental health interaction or an opioid overdose, the COaST deputy will arrange a meeting with the individual or “cold call” their residence. During that meeting, the deputy will check the well-being of the person and determine if he or she has sought treatment or services since the initial event. The deputy will then provide a “warm handoff” to the Health Department counselor, who will conduct a brief assessment, and if necessary, refer the person to appropriate services. Learn more

Jail Visitor Entrance Relocated

The public entrance of the Lake County Jail has moved from 20 South County Street, to the lobby of the Community Based Corrections Center (CBCC) at 15 South Martin Luther King Jr. Ave, Waukegan. The relocation is due to the ongoing renovations at the Lake County Jail.

Inmates being released from custody will be released at the CBCC Lobby. Any visitors coming to the Lake County Jail should also utilize the CBCC Lobby.

Help Give the Gift of Warmth. Donate to Veteran's Coat Drive

Veteran coat drive

Donate your new or gently used adult and children’s coats and outerwear to help area veterans and their families as part of the Lake County Law Enforcement Veteran's Coat Drive. The collection is running now through Nov. 7. Find a collection site near you.

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Forest Preserve News

Untermyer forum

2018 Ethel Untermyer Conservation Forum: Preserving Lake County
Lake County has a rich history of preservation. Join Dunn Museum curator Diana Dretske on Sunday, Oct. 14 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. as we step back in time to meet the individuals whose efforts preserved the county’s historical and natural heritage. Such as Robert Vogel, pictured here in 1957 with the Museum’s 420 million-year-old fossil. Learn more »

Halloween Hikes

Halloween Hikes
Join a guided group hike along a candlelit path at Ryerson Woods Welcome Center on Oct. 19 and 20 to watch fun nature-themed skits, followed by donuts and cider. The hikes are not scary. Even your littlest will enjoy this family favorite. Hikes begin every 30 minutes from 6 to 8 p.m. Total event time is 90 minutes. Total distance walked is about 1.5 miles. Learn more »

Community News

Scarecrow Fest
Enjoy pumpkin and cookie decorating, pony rides, scarecrow decorating, and more at the annual Barrington Scarecrow Fest. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13. 

Free Senior Car Safety Check
Seniors can come get a free vehicle 21-point inspection to check for basic safety and maintenance issues. The service will be offered from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13. Learn more

Movie in the Barn
Gather with the community at the Village Barn in Hawthorn Woods for a movie at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 19. Everyone will receive one free bag of popcorn at this event. Learn more

Trick or Treat Wauconda Main Street
Come to Main Street in downtown Wauconda for a fun and safe day of trick or treating from 2 to 6 p.m. Oct. 28. Learn more


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