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State Rep. David McSweeney

Some Illinois lawmakers want to get out in front of a civic group’s proposal to tax retirement income

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago recently proposed a plan to pay down Illinois’ underfunded pension debt and balance the budget through a number of tax hikes and revenue grabs that included classifying retirement and pension payouts as regular income. Illinois doesn’t tax retirement income.

State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, filed House Resolution 32 in attempt to forestall any bill that would tax such income. The bill, filed in January, says “we state our belief that the Illinois Income Tax Act should not be amended to permit taxing retirement income.”

Since the suggestion was made to tax retirement income, McSweeney’s measure has picked up sponsors Sam Yingling, Jonathan Carroll and Jerry Costello II, all Democrats, along with Plainfield Republican Mark Batinick.

Read more from the Illinois News Network here.

Barrington Township Trustee Fritz Gohl

There’s new hope in Springfield for putting power into the hands of voters when it comes to controlling and trimming their governments.

At nearly 6,963 units, Illinois has more governmental bodies and bureaucracies than any other state in the nation. Texas and Pennsylvania are next, according to the website Governing and they have only 5,147 and 4,897, respectively.

And while there’s been some momentum in recent years around merging governments, streamlining and setting up processes for dissolving bodies like sanitary and mosquito abatement districts in Illinois, the processes largely have been complicated or left in the control of public officials — some of whom, obviously, have a self-interest in keeping governments operating and themselves employed.

Read more from the Chicago Sun-Times here.

Seven referendums will appear on Lake County ballots for this spring’s consolidated local election.   The proposals include funding requests for school construction, water system improvements and fire department vehicles.

Election Day is April 2. Voting by mail begins March 8.  Early voting begins March 18.  Here are the issues:

Barrington schools

Barrington Unit District 220 voters will decide whether the school board should borrow $185 million for a variety of facility improvements.

All District 220 schools would receive security boosts and basic improvements, such as bathroom repairs and heating and air conditioning system upgrades.

The plan also calls for a new fine arts center at Barrington High School and a library renovation there, among other projects.

If approved, the owner of a house valued at $500,000 would pay about $97 more in property taxes to the district the first year.

Read more here:

Barrington Area Unit District 220 board members have given an early thumbs-up to an idea of creating an outdoor classroom.

Under the tentative proposal, the outdoor learning space would be in a conservation area just west of Hart Road across from Barrington High School’s stadium. The project would be on a portion of undeveloped land that District 220 owns west of Hart.

District 220’s assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, John Bruesch, said during a recent presentation the goal is to launch the outdoor laboratory in the 2021-22 academic year. He said the project could cost up to $750,000, with public and private funding sources covering the tab.

At a meeting this week, the District 220 board indicated a willingness to set aside $50,000 in the current summer projects budget for a surveyor and consultant to define the scope of what could be done on the Hart Road property. Formal approval is needed for the proposed expenditure.

Read more here.

“In order to inform the entire Barrington 220 community about the referendum question on the April 2, 2019 general election ballot, the Board of Education is holding 3 information sessions. All community members are encouraged to attend and ask questions. The agenda at all meetings will be the same.

  • Saturday, Feb. 23: 9am at Barrington High School (616 West Main Street, Barrington) 
  • Monday, March 4: 9:30am at BMS-Prairie (40 East Dundee Road, Barrington) 
  • Wednesday, March 6: 7pm at BMS-Station (215 South Eastern Avenue, Barrington) 

In addition, you can also visit the new referendum section of the Barrington 220 website. Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions, estimates on how the referendum may impact your taxes and specific plans for each Barrington 220 school.”

A campaign dubbed “Healthy Hedges” is being rolled out to arm nonprofessionals with information to deal with buckthorn and options to replace it.

“This is a key conservation goal across the region,” said Allison Frederick, assistant public affairs manager for the Lake County Forest Preserve District. “We’re joining forces to make this truly a movement to eradicate buckthorn wherever possible.”

The district and the Morton Arboretum through its Chicago Regional Tree Initiative, Forest Preserves of Cook CountyBarrington Area Conservation TrustIllinois Landscape Contractors Association, independent contractors and others are working to improve the health of backyards and other landscapes.

Read more here.

After at least six lawsuits and almost 10 years in court, a resolution may be approaching over whether a 400-acre horse farm in Barrington Hills will become forest preserve property.

The legal tug of war has led to bad blood between the prior purchasers of the property and officials from the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, who will square off at trial at the end of February.

But with recent court rulings going against the prior owners, time may be running out on their fight against a public takeover. If the forest preserve district prevails, the site would be its largest new property in some 50 years.

The property in question, Horizon Farm, formerly known as Horizon Farms, contains rolling pastures, racetracks, numerous stables, and at least one house and a mansion, which have fallen into severe disrepair. Recently, a court appointed a receiver to maintain the property while its future is decided.

Read more from the Chicago Tribune here.

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