2017 Municipal Innovation Award Winners

2017 Municipal Innovation Award Winners
Congratulations to the 2017 Award Winners!

The Village of Mundelein took first place.

In 2014, the Mundelein Village Board launched a $100,000 Business Incentive Grant program to improve the look of the community and make Mundelein feel more welcoming and vibrant. Coined the “BIG” (Business Incentive Grant) program, this acronym has enabled the Village to creatively promote the initiative. The matching grant program provides Mundelein businesses an opportunity to partner with the Village for funding. This partnership enhances the appearance of local businesses thus improving Mundelein’s business climate.
Since its launch in 2014, twenty-five businesses have taken advantage of the BIG and $287,715 have been approved for reimbursements. To date, $186,785 have been reimbursed.
Currently, the program has led to more than $2.1 million worth of business improvements within the Village and is furthering Mundelein’s goal of becoming Central Lake County’s premier location for entrepreneurs. The program has contributed to the reduction of commercial vacancy in the Village, increased assessed building values of approved applicants, and facilitated the long term success of participating Mundelein businesses.
The Village of Lake Zurich took second place.
The Village of Lake Zurich embarked upon a journey to map out critical and desirable capital improvements for the next twenty years. Traditionally, the capital plan had covered a more immediate time period of five years. Creating a twenty-year capital plan, their community investment plan, was both daunting and yet would prove to be invaluable. Major objectives included 1) identify all capital items for replacement or major repair with an expected cost of at least $20,000 over the next twenty years, 2) prioritize all projects submitted 3) identify funding plan for all critical projects and 4) communicate these needs to the stakeholders. The project took about four months to prepare and produced value within the first six months from creation, changing the direction of current year projects and shaping the creation of next year’s annual budget and the plan for the next several years.
 The City of North Chicago took third place.
To address the issue of vacant and abandoned buildings, the City of North Chicago initiated Operation Blight Busting/Project Landlord and conducted a systematic survey of every property in the City and cross referenced the field information with the information in the City’s files.
Then, a review of the City’s processes took place and new policies and procedures were implemented to streamline and improve efficiencies including but not limited to the timing of the licensing and inspection of rental properties. The process for getting vacant and abandoned properties to productive use was designed and implemented.
Finally, an interactive internal and external tool was designed. Internally, staff could view the locations of the vacant/abandoned buildings and track its status in the demolition or rehabilitation pipeline. An external interactive mapping tool was designed to provide for “radical transparency” to allow the public to view the demolition pipeline and before and after photos, turning into its own microwebsite.
The City ultimately demolished 19 properties in 2017. Five properties were voluntarily demolished by their owners. Another 60 were put into productive use by working with the owners and crafting an improvement schedule.
A very special thank you to the Lake County Municipal League Board for making this award program possible.

President: Glenn Ryback, Mayor of Wadsworth
Vice President: Terry Weppler, President of Libertyville
Secretary: Donny Schmit, Mayor of Fox Lake
Treasurer: Rich Hill, Mayor of Round Lake Beach

Director: Nandia Black, President of Kildeer
Director: Steve Henley, Mayor of Volo

Director: Maria Lasday, Village Manager of Bannockburn
Director: Dominic Marturano, Mayor of Lindenhurst
Director: Kathleen O’Hara, President of Lake Bluff
Immediate Past President: Joseph Mancino, Mayor of Hawthorn Woods

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