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A Cook County assessor’s report on 2019 property reassessments in the North and Northwest suburbs says efforts to improve taxpayer equity and fairness have been undone to some degree by Board of Review rulings on commercial property owners’ appeals.

Those properties have been underassessed by an average of 40% in past years, shifting more of the tax burden on to homeowners, the assessor’s office argues.

“A minority of people in Cook County use the appeals process, and this minority tends to have the most wealth, knowledge of the system’s quirks and weaknesses, and resources to navigate avenues to appeal,” Assessor Fritz Kaegi writes in his introduction to the report. “The aggregate effect of appeals from this minority is to reduce its share of the base, thus shifting more of the responsibility for property taxes to everyone else.”

But Board of Review Commissioner Michael Cabonargi said Kaegi’s pursuit of a preconceived outcome — that the tax burden should be shifted away from residential properties — is a fundamental flaw of his argument.

While it’s the role of the assessor’s office to establish criteria at the macro level, the Board of Review decides appeals based on specific properties and specific circumstances, he added.

“If he’s saying people don’t have the right to appeal, that’s something we’re going to disagree on,” Cabonargi said. “It’s a healthy but natural conflict that we’re going to review his work.”

Read more here.

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The Illinois Department of Transportation posted an update last month on the progress of the proposed widening of the IL 25 to 68 corridor of Route 62 in Barrington Hills. A copy of their report can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Speed cameras located near schools and parks in Chicago will begin ticketing drivers for going 6-10 miles per hour over the limit starting in March, officials said Monday.

Beginning January 15, drivers spotted going 6-10 mph over the limit in so-called “Children’s Safety Zones” will receive a warning by mail. This “warning period” lasts until March 1, after which speeding drivers will get a $35 ticket in the mail instead.

Areas which have a speed camera are marked by signs and usually have a limit of around 30 mph, with those found near schools generally enforced from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. while those in park zones are often active from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., 365 days a year.

Cameras use 3D tracking radar to identify any cars traveling faster than the posted speed limit before capturing an image of the vehicle.

Previously, drivers would only receive a ticket for going 10 mph over the limit, while those found going 11 mph or more over the limit will continue receiving a $100 ticket.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot included “enhanced fine enforcement” changing the cameras’ limits as part of a budget which aimed to address the city’s $1.2 billion shortfall.

Read more here.

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The Village Board of Trustees will be holding their monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM. Some of the topics for discussion and/or vote include:

  • [Vote] A Resolution Approving the Execution of an Intergovernmental Agreement with Cook County for the Donlea Road Drainage Investigation Resolution 20 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of ALPR Equipment and Related Services and Software for use by the Village Police Department Resolution 20 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Granting an Amendment to the Existing Special Use Permit for an Expansion of the Parking Lot at 160 Hawthorne Road Ordinance 20 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Adopting by Reference of the Lake County Watershed Development Ordinance 20 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Consenting to an Amendment of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions and Easements for Hurstbourne Subdivision Resolution 20 –
  • [Vote] Resolution of Proclamation Congratulating Janet Agnoletti Upon Her Retirement From the Barrington Area Council of Governments Res 20 –

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here. Those wishing to try to listing in on the meeting can phone 508-924-1464.

Related: Mosque replica planned for 160 Hawthorne Road?,” “Cook County to investigate Donlea Road flooding problems

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We searched on Barrington Hills for the results of the presidential election, and the results are depicted above.

Joe Biden won Illinois by nearly 17 percentage points, Sen. Dick Durbin sailed to reelection over Republican challenger Mark Curran and the graduated-rate income tax amendment fell by a wide margin.

The statewide results were mirrored in final tallies from Chicago and the collar counties. Biden defeated President Donald Trump in those areas by a 57.4% to 40.7% margin; Durbin had 54.5% of the vote to Curran’s 38.8%; and Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed income tax amendment fell 53.4% to 46.6%.

But break down the vote behind those apparent landslides into the smallest electoral pieces — precincts — and a more nuanced picture emerges. Solidly Democratic precincts in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood saw the tax amendment fall by a wide margin. Same story in parts of Libertyville. Pockets of Niles went for Trump but saw Durbin finish ahead in the race for U.S. Senate. Parts of Lake Forest went for Biden but not for Durbin.

Search (HERE) for your address, ZIP code or town to see how your neighborhood compares. The buttons above the map allow you to switch from the race for president, U.S. Senate and the tax vote.

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“The Barrington Hills Police Department has been notified by the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways that Bateman Road, between Bateman Circle North and South, will be temporarily closed to all traffic to facilitate the replacement of a failing culvert.

The closure is scheduled to begin tomorrow morning, Wednesday, December 2nd and the roadway is tentatively planned to be re-opened on Friday, December 4th. During this period, through traffic should avoid this area and utilize alternative routes, such as the posted detour. Your cooperation and patience is appreciated.”

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Infusion of party resources fails to bring big blue wave as Republicans relish results

(Click on image to enlarge)

Illinois Democrats and their financial backers spent big – much more than Republicans – on races for statehouse districts that include portions of McHenry County in this month’s election, but ultimately failed to flip more than one area seat.

“I think this election showed a lot of the electorate agreed with Republican values and policies, and we don’t necessarily have to spend as much if we’re strong on the policy,” McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Tyler Wilke said.

Despite Republican campaigns being at a huge fundraising disadvantage to Democrats in the three races for the statehouse seats representing the southeast corner of McHenry County, the GOP still put in more effort to hang onto those three local state offices than it has in the past, McHenry County Democratic Party Chairwoman Kristina Zahorik said.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Republican Martin McLaughlin, who handily won election to the District 52 seat over Democratic challenger Marci Suelzer and Green Party candidate Alia Sarfraz, said he thinks the varied geography of his supporters shows there is a conservative tilt among voters in the region visible across jurisdictional boundaries.

McLaughlin earned more votes than Suelzer in each of the four counties – McHenry, Lake, Cook and Kane – that make up his district.

“That’s a good sign that our message cut across the main street communities in the 52nd (House District) and the bedroom communities, and all different kinds of economic and social metrics,” McLaughlin said.

Read more here.

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Donlea Road runs from Old Sutton to County Line Roads in Cook County (Please click on image to enlarge)

The Cook County Board has approved funding for projects led by the Department of Transportation and Highways for the final design and right of way land acquisition for the Northfield Happ Road Corridor Improvement and for a Barrington Hills drainage investigation.

The Village of Northfield is planning a traffic circle on Happ Road between Willow and Winnetka roads to promote a safe, walkable environment around the downtown area.

In Barrington Hills, record rainfall three years in a row and drainage challenges forced the closure of Donlea Road from Butternut Road to County Line Road to close for more than a month. The village and the county will work with homeowners to address the water displacement issue.

Source

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That brought the total cost to build and run the short-lived facility to about $81.1 million, including construction costs. The emergency facility will not reopen, state officials say.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot (from left), Gov. J.B. Pritzker and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, touring the $65.9 million emergency coronavirus hospital at McCormick Place on April 17 — the day Pritzker announced the first five patients had been transferred there. Only 33 more would follow, as a feared COVID-19 crush at hospitals eased.
(Tyler LaRiviere / Sun-Times)

As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers raced to build a $66 million emergency COVID-19 field hospital inside McCormick Place last spring, state and city officials scrambled to find the staff, equipment and supplies to run it.

The tab for all of that was another $20.3 million, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show, though state officials say two vendors returned a total of $5.2 million of “unspent funds.”

That brought the total cost of building and staffing the short-lived, makeshift coronavirus hospital to about $81.1 million.

State and city officials say they expect most of the costs for the McCormick Place hospital to be covered by the federal government.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency spent $19 million to staff and operate the hospital. City Hall put in another $1.3 million for materials and supplies.

The McCormick Place field hospital, built by Walsh Construction, one of Chicago’s most politically well-connected contractors, opened in mid-April. It was shut down only weeks later, on May 8, as the demand for hospital beds for coronavirus patients eased, and it was deemed by state and city officials to no longer be needed.

Read more of the Sun*Times Watchdog report here.

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Suburban voters already have reportedly cast more than 266,000 early or mail-in ballots ahead of the Nov. 3rd presidential election, with early voting slated to expand across the region starting today.

County clerks are ramping up early voting today, with 17 sites available in Lake County, 11 in McHenry and more than 50 in suburban Cook. Kane County offers seven permanent early voting sites, eight alternative sites and various mobile locations starting today through Oct. 28th.

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