Mundelein starts 2014 with a freshly overhauled village website.
Still located at mundelein.org, the site features improved online bill payment options, shopping and restaurant directories, a photo tour of the village, business development information and other amenities.
And for the first time, the site is compatible with mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. That's Village Administrator John Lobaito's favorite new element.
"As our country moves toward a more mobile environment for many of the services we use every day, it is imperative that Mundelein be on the leading edge of technology," Lobaito said in an email.
The improved website is part of Mundelein's ongoing marketing and branding effort. Officials hope the push will bring the town positive attention and attract businesses and customers.
Lobaito credited Village Communications Director Dawn Jenich and information technology supervisor Carmen Pedraza for the redesign. Jenich supplied the text and photographs, while Pedraza handled the coding.
The work took about three months.
"Both did an incredible job working together to bring this project across the finish line in such a short period of time," Lobaito said.
As the work was done primarily by village staffers, the cost of the effort was relatively low. Lobaito estimates the bill was about $5,000, far less than the five- or six-figure tabs other towns have been handed by website developers.
Modernizing the website was a priority for Mayor Steve Lentz, who took office in May.
"I feel that a strong website speaks volumes about the community," Lentz said. "It really represents your image and what you're about. If you have a great website, more people will take you seriously as a community."
Lobaito is particularly keen about a heading on the home page labeled "Government Transparency," a political buzzword in recent years.
Here, visitors will be able to find audit reports, a staff directory with phone numbers and email links, the salaries of key employees, a form for requesting copies of public records and other documents.
That information was available online before, but now it's all in one high-profile place, Lobaito said.
"The new design puts this information front and center," he said.