The Prospect Heights City Council Monday introduced Kenneth J. Lopez, who has considerable experience with smaller communities, as its new city administrator.
Lopez has served in similar positions in Pingree Grove, Beach Park and Johnsburg and was director of economic development in North Aurora.
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Mayor Nick Helmer praised Lopez's experience after the meeting and said 18 people applied for the job.
"He worked in smaller cities where he didn't have all the resources to work with and did the job of two or three people," said Helmer. "Now he's got a city with close to 20,000 people. He's worked up to bigger positions and knows how to handle things at the ground level."
Lopez said his 18 years of municipal experience will benefit Prospect Heights, specifically mentioning the possibility that the city will seek an alliance that brings it Lake Michigan water.
Like Prospect Heights, none of the towns he served had home rule, Lopez said. And Beach Park shared with his new community the challenge of operating without a general property tax.
"We were cognizant of what we spent and financially very conservative," said Lopez. "Economic development was a big component."
He pointed to success in economic development in Beach Park and North Aurora, including the use of tax increment financing districts and redevelopment of vacant property.
The city will pay Lopez $115,000, said James Dunne, acting city administrator and police chief. That compares with the $125,000 annual salary for Anne Marrin, who resigned to take a similar position with Fox Lake.
For two weeks Lopez has been the interim village manager of Maywood, and he said he pursued both jobs at once. He expects to start May 1 in Prospect Heights.