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Lake Barrington, IL: Rapid transformation to digital licensing for a small local government

Lake Barrington, IL, USA
In Collaboration With
Village of Lake Barrington

Goverment Champion

Village Clerk Lisa C. Pena-Tlapa


2 Thousand USD

Project Status

Operational since 2020


Permits Licensing
Digital Permitting

Challenges Addressed

Essential Services


Resilient city

Funding / Financing

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Type


At a Glance

Lake Barrington (population 5,000) used workflow automation software to convert a paper-based business license to a digital workflow. Instead of Village staff doing data entry, processing check payments, and mailing license forms, everything happens online. Staff can adjust fees in real time and work from home.

Problem Addressed

Even before COVID-19, Lake Barrington wanted to offer an online licensing option to its local businesses. Businesses wanted to be able to file and pay online, and the Village staff wanted to do less data entry and check processing, and build a list of up-to-date email addresses for its local businesses. The Village knew that more businesses would likely comply with licensing requirements if there was an easy online option. Village Clerk Lisa C. Pena-Tlapa wanted to combine multiple paper forms into one digital workflow, streamlining the process for everyone.

The plan was to launch in March, and then everything changed. Because Lisa was ready to go with her digital application, she was able to quickly adjust the fee calculation formula on CityGrows when the Village decided to cut license fees in half for most businesses (they're considering reducing them to zero). And when the Village Hall was closed to protect staff and residents from the virus, businesses could file online, and she can review and approve applications from home. Plus she's able to reach her local businesses via email with information about local requirements related to COVID-19.

Now, instead of Village staff doing data entry, processing check payments, and manually creating license forms and mailing them to businesses, everything happens online. Businesses can print their licenses at the end of the workflow and are choosing to pay electronically, keeping everyone safe and at home.

The Village of Lake Barrington, IL used/is using CityGrows remote-ready workflow automation software to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

Lake Barrington is using CityGrows, a low-cost workflow automation software for local governments. Local governments build their own remote-ready workflows on CityGrows, and are bringing everything from permits, licensing, and requests forms to internal/ HR workflows online in real time so their teams can work from home.


  1. Lake Barrington can continue its licensing activities, even with staff working from home, and make changes in real time to adjust its business requirements because of the health crisis.
  2. Businesses can complete the entire licensing process remotely, keeping everyone safe and at home.

Lessons Learned

  1. It's really good to have an easy-to-edit digital system when things are changing every day.

Something Unique

Any government can quickly copy and customize Lake Barrington's licensing workflow. CityGrows makes it easy to repurpose the great work that other government have done. Check the More Reading section for the link!

Who Should Consider?

Any local government that's struggling with how to bring paper- or PDF-based workflows fully online so staff and constituents can continue to interact and complete needed workflows remotely.

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