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Hoffman Estates officials have recommended approval of a village-initiated tax increment financing district to spur commercial growth at the northeast and northwest corners of Higgins and Old Sutton roads.

Hoffman Estates officials are poised to grant an economic incentive Jan. 6 to spur development just west of The Arboretum of South Barrington shopping center, helping the vacant site join the commercial development going on around it.

The village’s planning, building and zoning committee voted 6-1 Monday to recommend approval of a tax increment financing district to pay for sewer and water utilities on the northeast and northwest corners of Higgins and Old Sutton roads.

The proposed TIF district would include a 24-acre parcel and a 16-acre parcel along Higgins Road west of Route 59 as well as adjacent right of way for a total of 64 acres.

Potential developments for the site include a gas station and convenience store along Old Sutton, 100,000 square feet of self storage along the CN Railroad tracks, and a 150,000-square-foot retail center. (Sound familiar?)

Read more here.

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With a reduction in the quarterly parking fee at Barrington’s train station, officials say more revenue will be generated for the village by falling below a threshold requiring payment of a Cook County tax.

A reduction in the quarterly parking fee at downtown Barrington’s train station means more revenue will be generated for the village because the amount will fall below a threshold requiring a Cook County tax payment, officials said.

Commuters will pay $5 less — $195 instead of $200 — for the quarterly hangtag starting Jan. 1, said Barrington’s director of financial services, Jason Hayden. While the $200 quarterly permit wound up producing $182 in revenue, the village will keep all $195 by not triggering the 9% tax.

Cook County’s 9% parking lot and garage operations tax is applied on spaces that cost $15 or more per week in towns with 250,000 or fewer residents. Barrington tripped the tax because the quarterly parking rate, which started Oct. 1, worked out to $15.38 for each of 13 weeks covered by the $200 permit.

Barrington also raised the daily parking tab to $3.50 from $3 for the north and south lots in October, but avoided the tax on the higher rate after village officials sought assistance to change the threshold. Cook County had a 6% tax on municipal parking spaces costing more than $3 for a 24-hour period in communities with fewer than 250,000 residents.

Read the complete Daily Herald story here.

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Algonquin Road

Engineering will begin next year for a planned resurfacing of nearly 5 miles of Algonquin Road between Route 25 and Dundee Road in Barrington Hills. About three-quarters of the $10 million funding allocation is for bridge repair and replacement at Spring Creek.

Since 2017, the state has suggested plans to widen Algonquin Road with two lanes in each direction. If that’s the case, village officials have asked for it to be done as a scenic parkway rather than a typical four-lane state highway.

Village President Martin McLaughlin used a baseball analogy when describing the start of engineering work on the multiyear project. “In a nine-inning game, it means the pitcher is warmed up, on the field, and ready to start the process,” he said.

Barrington Road

A $19 million project calls for reconstruction of a 1.5-mile stretch of Barrington Road from south of Algonquin Road to Central Road, and adding a lane each way on a small portion north of Mundhank Road. A bike path is also planned on the west side of Barrington Road.

Read more from the Daily Herald here.

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Effective property tax rates for homes in Chicago, calculated as a percentage of their market value, continue to be among the lowest for communities in northeast Illinois, according to a report issued Monday by the nonpartisan Civic Federation.

The group said among 12 selected Cook County communities, Chicago in 2017 had the lowest average effective tax rate for homes at 1.74%. Its report found that Harvey had the highest rate, 7.08%.

On its face, the finding could be seen as cover for Mayor Lori Lightfoot as she considers a property tax increase to help her wrestle with a projected $838 million budget deficit for next year. But that’s unlikely to mean much to Chicago homeowners who have seen steady increases in their tax bills and are bracing for more.

The federation’s report, however, documents a continued pattern that favors Chicago over communities that are largely poor or with a declining tax base. With a large source of commercial and industrial property plus many expensive homes, local governments in Chicago don’t need high tax rates.

Read the full Chicago Sun-Times report, including reference to Barrington, here.

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Is the Illinois Racing Board taking business lessons from the film “Goodfellas?”

In that world of organized crime chronicled so brilliantly by director Martin Scorsese, actor Ray Liotta portrays mobster Henry Hill. He explains the business mantra succinctly as follows: (I have condensed the idea to remove some choice terms.) “Business bad? … pay me. Oh, you had a fire? … pay me. Place got hit by lightning, huh? … pay me.”

You get the idea. They don’t care about your problems, they just want their money.

That’s an approach the Racing Board tried using with Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights, leaning on them so the track would add casino gambling. The pressure from the racing board, or incentive for the track, depending on which side you’re onwas to potentially deny them any of the 68 dates for racing sought for Arlington. The board ultimately gave approval for the dates.

Read more of Randy Blaser’s column here.

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Celebrate under a full harvest moon at Citizens for Conservation’s Ignite the Night.

The event will feature live music, food, stargazing, flashlight walks for kids, a raffle, horse-drawn wagon rides and will be capped off by a spectacular bonfire. Ignite the Night will be held from 5 to 10 PM on Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Spring Creek Forest Preserve and the Barrington Hills Park District, 361 Bateman Road, Barrington Hills.

The evening will include a cookout dinner; beer, wine and soft drinks and music by Beamish. Attendees will also have the chance to view the night sky, stars and planets with professional-grade telescopes.

Tickets are $50 in advance and $65 after Friday, Sept. 13, for adults; $25 for teens through age 20, and $12 for children 12 and younger. Online ordering is available on CFC’s website.

If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, call Ginger Underwood at 847.331.3568 or ttonkajo@yahoo.com

Ignite the Night aims to be a zero-waste event, and Mindful Waste will assist in making sure all packaging is compostable, recyclable or reusable. Mindful Waste volunteers will be on hand to educate and help with the sorting process. CFC’s goal is divert as much material from the landfill as possible.

All proceeds from this event will support Citizens for Conservation. Supporters of the event include the Forest Preserves of Cook County and the Barrington Hills Park District.

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State Rep. David McSweeney

Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, sponsored a bill signed Friday by Gov. JB Pritzker that gives the voters of McHenry County the power to dissolve the 17 townships that currently comprise the county.

The synopsis as introduced in House Bill 348 reads as follows:

“Amends the Township Code. Provides that the board of trustees of any township located in McHenry County may submit a proposition to dissolve the township to the township electors or township electors may petition for a referendum to dissolve a township. Provides for the transfer of real and personal property, and any other assets, together with all personnel, contractual obligations, and liabilities of the dissolving township to McHenry County.

Provides that all road districts wholly within the boundaries of the dissolving township are dissolved on the date of dissolution of the dissolving township and the powers and responsibilities of the road district are transferred to McHenry County, and provides that municipalities within the dissolving township may elect to assume the duties and responsibilities of the road district or road districts.

Limits extensions of specified property tax levies to 90% of the original property tax levy and within the boundaries of the dissolved township. Amends the Election Code and Counties Code making conforming changes.

Amends the Illinois Highway Code. Provides that any township in Lake County or McHenry County shall abolish a road district of that township if the roads of the road district are less than 15 miles in length.

Provides that the road district is abolished on the expiration of the term of office of the highway commissioner of the road district facing abolition following the determination by the county engineer or county superintendent of highways. Provides that the township board of trustees may enter into a contract with the county, a municipality, or a private contractor to administer the roads added to its jurisdiction.”

House Bill 348 took effect immediately upon signing and can be viewed here.

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