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

Village of Lake Barrington

Lake Barrington, IL

Lake Barrington (population 5,000) used workflow automation software to convert paper-based license and permits 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.

Topics Covered


Initial: 2 Thousand USD


General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2022

Gov Champion

Village Clerk Lisa C. Pena-Tlapa

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.

2021 Update: The Village recently launched its Contractors licenses on CityGrows and is in the process of transitioning its full building permit process online for the first time ever.

Solutions 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.



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.


Businesses can complete the entire licensing process remotely, keeping everyone safe and at home.


Once the licensing department demonstrated the impact of a digital platform other departments began adopting the technology - at no additional cost to the municipality.


Online payments that are integrated with permit and license applications mean better compliance and easier reconciliation for Finance staff.

Lessons Learned


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.

Last Updated

Feb 7th, 2021
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