On April 5th, 2014 the Village of Gurnee, located in the Northeast corner of Illinois in Central Lake County, launched the LAMA Citizen Access Portal. The web application was developed by the Davenport Group, a company that has been creating municipal software since 2004. In January of 2013, Gurnee implemented the Davenport Group’s signature program, LAMA, to manage their permitting, licensing, code enforcement, and planning processes. By adding the LAMA Citizen Access Portal: https://onestop.gurnee.il.us, to their software system, Gurnee connected their citizens directly to their city processes. Citizens can now submit applications for permits, check on the status of existing permits, upload important documents, and in the near future, pay for permits from home. And for the Gurnee officials, finalizing web submitted applications is a simple as completing their review process. There is little data input required.
Gurnee is a unique municipality. It is one of three communities within the state of Illinois that does not levy property or utility taxes. Gurnee is able to keep taxes low because it has several huge sources of tax revenue in the Six Flags Great America park, Gurnee Mills Mall, and the KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark. Despite Gurnee’s low taxes and the recession of the U.S. Economy, the village’s revenues actually increased $1.1 million in the fiscal year 2012/2013. As of the 2010 census, the village population is 31,295, and it is has a very balanced land use at 59% zoned residential, 21% commercial, 8% industrial, and 12% parks/open space. LAMA is a great solution for communities with balanced land use because it can adapt to any community’s zoning requirements and its processes can dynamically account for land use. LAMA is powerful enough to query the GIS data for the location of a particular permit, verify the land use of that location, cross reference that with the permit type, and adjust that permit’s application process, reviews, and fees accordingly.
Another interesting facet of Gurnee is that it is classified as a Home Rule community. Municipalities in Illinois with populations over 25,000 are automatically granted Home Rule status and over 70% of Illinois’ population live in Home Rule communities. Home Rule essentially transfers many of the powers from the state level to the municipality, giving municipalities much more control and flexibility. These powers include greater control of local development, taxes, fees, and bonds. LAMA allows Gurnee to shoulder that added responsibility and turn around policy changes quickly. Application requirements, fees, bonds, and work flows can all be changed on the fly. And for communities that use the LAMA Citizen Access web application like Gurnee, these changes can be made available to the public in little to no time at all. LAMA has the flexibility to change with growing municipalities. It also has a complete set of technologies that modern, American communities need to maintain efficient and effective government.