Difference between revisions of "Lake County, Illinois"

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Revision as of 14:49, 23 September 2013

Lake County is a county in Illinois. In 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population at 713,076. Its county seat is Waukegan. The county is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Lake County was the 31st richest county by per capita income. The lakefront communities of Lake Forest and Highland Park are part of the affluent North Shore area.

Originally part of McHenry County, the townships comprising Lake County were carved out into a separate county in 1839. Naval Station Great Lakes is located in the city of North Chicago in Lake County. It is the United States Navy's Headquarters Command for training, and the Navy's only recruit training center.

Website evaluation

Main article: Evaluation of Illinois county websites

In 2011 Lake County earned a Sunny Award for having a perfect website transparency score.

Transparency Grade
Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Lobbying Y
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Public records
Local taxes Y
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County websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for ten years.[1]
  • Administrative officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[2]
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number, and personalized email.
  • Elected officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[3][4]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for four years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for four years.
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.[5]
    • Meeting video or podcasts are available.
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 2003 are available.[6]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[7]
  • Public records
    • The public information officer is identified and maintained by the FOIA Officer position. This person provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.
    • A public records form is provided.
    • A fee schedule for documents is provided.[8]
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.[9]
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.[10]
  • Lobbying
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.[13]
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[14]

The bad

  • None posted yet

Lake County Board

The Lake County Board is made up of 23 elected members. Board members serve on standing committees and provide policy and budget oversight of the county government.[3]

Lake County Administrator

The county administrator serves as the chief administrative officer for the county government, an organization of more than 2,800 employees and a $505 million budget.[15]

Some of the county administrator's primary responsibilities include:[15]

  • Implement policies of the county board, including strategic priorities
  • Develop and oversee the budget and capital budget
  • Oversee the activities of all department heads appointed by the county board
  • Coordinate and/or collaborate on countywide activities involving departments with elected and appointed department heads
  • Oversee Emergency Management Operations and Communications activities
  • Direct the county’s annual legislative program


The county is facing budget challenges. Since 2009, the budget has been cut by $15 million. This was done partly by eliminating 113 positions, largely by holding vacancies. Also, there has been no discretionary spending or wage increases and reduced funding for outside agencies.[16]

Stimulus funds

Approximately $120 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding has been awarded or is anticipated for Lake County. Recently, $5.7 million was awarded to promote energy efficiencies and conservation strategies across various Lake County government operations. The county has also be awarded $1 million to provide financial and/or legal assistance to keep individuals in their homes or to assist individuals that have become homeless with obtaining a house. More than $5 million has been awarded to assist in job placement services and training for adults, youth and laid-off workers. About $3.6 million will be utilized to address the significant increase in new patients accessing services at the Health Department for the first time. These funds will allow the department to increase staff and service hours to meet this increased demand, create a new access point clinic location on Grand Ave. (currently under construction), and expand the Midlakes Clinic in Round Lake Beach. Lake County’s designation as a Recovery Zone provides the ability to issue up to $98 million in bonds at lower rates, thereby promoting economic development projects within the county.[17]

ARRA Grant Awards:[17]
Workforce development

  • $5.6 million - Job placement and training for adults and laid off workers, and job placement program for youth for two year period

Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center

  • $1.7 million - Funding to be utilized for expansion of the Midlakes Clinic and purchase of new computer servers
  • $1.3 million - Primary care services at a new community health center site in Waukegan
  • $648,000 - Offset increased demand/expenses for health services

Community development

  • $4.6 million - Neighborhood Stabilization Program 1
  • $1.1 million - Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Assistance for Lake County to distribute
  • $1.1 million - Homeless Assistance for distribution by the Lake County Continuum of Care program
  • $691,000 - Community Development Block Grants for North Chicago, Waukegan and Lake County for shovel-ready infrastructure projects

Finance and administrative services

  • $5.7 million - Energy conservation related programs

Economic development

  • $59 million - Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds for public infrastructure projects
  • $39 million - Recovery Zone Facility Bonds for public infrastructure projects

State's attorney

  • $268,283 - Funding for creation of one victim assistance counselor position for a three year period to assist with domestic violence, cyber crime and financial related cases

Information technology

  • $161,269 - Process LiDAR data (through the U.S. Geological Survey)


Main article: Lobbying in Lake County, Illinois

Lake County has spent at least $973,749.63 since 2005 on government sector lobbying. The county is a member of the following lobbying associations:[18]

Lake County's lobbying consists of two contracts with lobbyists, including Kolkmeier Consulting.

Lobbying since 2005
$ lobbying total $ Illinois $ federal government $ lobbying groups # lobbying contracts # lobbying groups
$973,749.63 $258,423.26 $507,206.22 $208,120.15 2 4

Public employee salaries

Main article: Lake County employee salaries

Lake County salaries are salaries paid to elected officials and county employees.The Lake County website does not include compensation for elected officials or county employees. The website also does not list a total number of county employees.


Main article: Illinois public pensions

Lake County offers four pension plans to its employees. Two of the plans are for law enforcement employees. As of 2009 the county's annual cost for its four pensions totaled $1.4 million. None of the four plans are fully funded, according to the website. As of 2008 the two IMRF plans were 80.39 percent funded. The two law enforcement plans, SLEP, were 48.72 percent funded. The IMRF plans had an unfunded liability of $6.1 million. The SLEP plans had an unfunded liability of $1.5 million.[19]

The Lake County website does not include a breakdown of how many employees opt into each pension plan.

External links