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Not much seemed business as usual in 2020, but one thing that hasn’t changed is our annual tradition of reaching out to Lake County mayors and village presidents to ask them what their communities accomplished in the year gone by and something they hope to accomplish in the year ahead. Today, we share the accomplishments of a challenging 2020. On Friday, we’ll share the mayors’ hopes for 2021.

Antioch: Staying ahead of COVID-19 — 2020 has been a very difficult year for everyone around the world. Antioch has been no different. I really feel our administration has worked tirelessly to be creative and helpful to our residents and businesses alike, all while keeping within budget in a fiscally responsible manner. Mayor Larry Hanson

Fox Lake: The village accomplished several street repair projects in 2020 despite many COVID-19 challenges. Fox Lake also installed decorative street lighting, enhanced our Millennium Park, completed Phase One of a water and sewer interconnect, added virtual recreation programming, and welcomed several new businesses. Mayor Donny Schmit

Grayslake: Helping our residents and businesses navigate through the challenges presented by the pandemic. We are in unchartered territory. and the situation constantly changed during the year. The organization was able to adjust its service delivery methods to safely provide our services. Our strong finances prevented operating disruptions. We provided a significant amount of public health information and supported businesses hardest hit with financial and other assistance. Mayor Rhett Taylor

Green Oaks: Green Oaks began 2020 and successfully implemented multiple projects totaling $3 million. Public safety and infrastructure improvements of $1.8 million resulted in rehabilitating additional local roadways. To date, Green Oaks has improved 60% of its thoroughfare. As 2020 closes, it’s heartwarming to see all the humanitarian efforts exhibited by our residents with their outpouring of good will and appreciation for our beautiful community. Mayor Bernard Wysocki

Gurnee: The most important thing the village did in 2020 was navigate the impacts and consequences of COVID 19 to address and keep safe our residents, business community and our own employees. This was uncharted territory. I am proud that our employees, despite daunting requirements, kept all the village services up and running and continued to provide exceptional service. Mayor Kristina Kovarik

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Hainesville: Our most important accomplishment in 2020 was the two separate $100 water bill rebates that we gave each of residents and businesses. We also waived all business license and liquor license fees. We truly wanted to provide some relief to all of our families and businesses as they dealt with the COVID crisis. $200 may not seem to be much, but when you are out of work or your business is failing, every lit bit helps. Mayor Gerry Daley

Hawthorn Woods: The most important thing our village accomplished this year was to quickly recognize the potentially financially devastating effect COVID-19 would have on our residents and budget. Although we operate on a zero-based budget each year, we implemented further across the board budget cuts in each department, applied for and received all available grant money, and will finish in the black this year. Mayor Dominick DiMaggio

Kildeer: 2020 was a year like no other in the Village’s history. Despite the adverse financial impacts from the coronavirus pandemic, the village was able to fund its summer road program and open a dog park, which provided residents with an opportunity to be outside and be socially distant. Mayor Nandia P. Black

Lake Villa: In 2020, Lake Villa, like all other communities, spent a significant amount of resources managing the COVID-19 pandemic. The village’s management was multifaceted and included ensuring the continued delivery of essential village services, working with restaurants and other businesses to keep them active during the pandemic, keeping residents informed of relevant public health information and, when possible, still providing safe events for the public. Mayor Jim McDonald

Lake Zurich: In spite of COVID and its resulting fiscal and economic impacts, Lake Zurich endured. The village made continuous progress toward its goals, carefully employing the constrained resources available. We balanced making the community as safe as possible for everyone, while allowing residents and businesses the latitude to make the best possible decisions for themselves. Mayor Tom Poynton

Libertyville: The most important thing we did in 2020 was communicating with our residents and businesses. We let our residents know what businesses were open and gave information to our businesses to help them get grants. We ran a program that gave gift certificates to people who purchased cars at our car dealers that were good at local businesses, helping all village businesses. We also did weekly phone calls to all residents advising them of important information as the COVID crisis changed from day to day. Mayor Terry Weppler

Lincolnshire: We unveiled a new logo with a visual brand and style guide for the first time in over 40 years; completed a multiuse pedestrian path for safer travel to school along Riverwoods Road; and approved The St. James athletic complex development proposal. Mayor Elizabeth Brandt

Lindenhurst: Surviving the pandemic. We put safeguards in place at the village hall to protect our employees and residents, conducted more business electronically, delayed increases to our water and sewer rates, delayed late payment charges, delayed business license fees, and established a fund for our local restaurants to recoup some expenses. Mayor Dominic Marturano

Long Grove: The revitalization of our downtown, including the restoration of the iconic 100-plus-year-old Robert Parker Coffin Bridge. Aesthetic enhancements and infrastructure upgrades, combined with the creativity of our businesses, provided a beautiful backdrop and respite for those looking for a safe place to visit with COVID-19 restrictions in place. Mayor Bill Jacob

Mettawa: The village approved another balanced budget and maintained the tax levy at the same amount for the 22nd consecutive year. We also retired our only debt with the payoff of bonds, saving interest costs and resulting in the village now being debt free. Our Moody’s bond rating was upgraded to Aa1, a rare rating for a community of our size. Mayor Casey Urlacher

Mundelein: Although completing our new public works facility on Allanson Road ranks very high, our most important accomplishment was obtaining land for the new 8-acre downtown water detention pond and nearly finishing the surrounding flood mitigation work. It caps a much-needed 3-year project after the July 2017 flood disaster. Mayor Steve Lentz

Round Lake: To encourage development and enhancement of downtown by establishing a tax increment financing district, expected to be approved by the village board in January. Our Waste Hauler expired in August. The Groot proposal was over 35% lower than other vendors and slightly decreases charges for garbage from the prior year. The village adopted an administrative adjudication system. It will expedite resolutions and provides for an efficient alternative to prosecuting code violations in circuit court. Mayor Daniel MacGillis

Round Lake Beach: Being appointed mayor in October, my most important contribution to date has been the redevelopment agreement for the Rollins Commons Shopping Center. This will bring a new 70,000-square-foot retail space user to the village, and the redevelopment of the entire shopping center. The project will increase the village’s overall tax base, remove blight caused by multiple vacant retail spaces and bring 100-plus jobs to our community. Mayor Scott Nickels

Round Lake Heights: When I reflect about what the village’s greatest achievement was in 2020, it is actually hard to say, as this year for not just the village of Round Lake Heights but for everyone has been one of the toughest years we have had to face. As a small village, I have been extremely proud how we have faced the multiple challenges of COVID-19. The village has had no layoffs or budget setbacks during these times of hardship — we still have one of the lowest tax brackets in Lake County. Mayor Terrance Lumpkins

Round Lake Park: The village worked diligently to assure the safety of our staff and residents during COVID-19, making sure immediate action on the onset with appropriate equipment. ensuring our police officers have the innovation for online reporting and updating our telephone reports to ensure public safety. Updated equipment for our police and public works departments. We increased the police pension board from 20% to 90% vested. The village partnered with the state of Illinois debt recovery program. Mayor Linda Lucassen

Vernon Hills: I am extremely proud of how our community worked in partnership to lay a path for the redevelopment of Hawthorn Mall. Together, we ensured that all partners, including our schools, are well supported. This $250 million redevelopment project will greatly benefit not only Vernon Hills, but the entire region. Mayor Roger L. Byrne

Volo: We were fortunate to be in a position to assist our residents during this year of great uncertainty by providing two, $200 utility bill credits. Mayor Stephen Henley

Wauconda: It is difficult to pick one item. Due to the pandemic, we suspended late water payment fees & shut-offs, froze water/sewer rates, extended dates for licenses and amended codes for bars/restaurants while implementing a grant program. Economic development improved with expansions, remodeling and welcoming new businesses. We brought in a new waste hauler and signed an IGA with Volo providing overnight parking enforcement. Mayor Lincoln F. Knight

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