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Illinois’ General Assembly, which had finally approved a budget but failed to act on an amendment regarding property tax freezes, should take a harder look at itself, Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin said during a recent interview.

“What is ridiculous is the General Assembly that hasn’t had the ability to deliver a balanced budget in years and refuses to address the public pension debacle that is a large contributor to the tax burden are the ones pointing to other entities as the problem,” McLaughlin told the Lake County Gazette.

Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin

McLaughlin said he has some experience doing what lawmakers in the Illinois General Assembly need to be doing. “As a village president that has reduced our Barrington Hills levy four out of my five years in office I am all for a freeze,” he said.

“However I would prefer a 15 percent reduction from all taxing bodies that make up our property tax bills – school districts, townships, community colleges, library districts, fire districts, abatement districts and others,” he said. ” Elected and appointed officials need to understand that Illinois taxpayers are in serious trouble. We are declining in population as people give up and move out of our state.”

To read the full article in the Lake County Gazette, click here.

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TruthWC

Three candidates running on the “Your Barrington Hills” (YBH) slate are seeking public office for the first time in Barrington Hills. Their names (Louis Iacovelli for president, Paula Jacobsen and Robert Zubak for trustee) are not familiar to most residents, as none of them have had any prior experience or position in our village government. However, their names are definitely well-known in the equestrian community, as they and their spouses have been intimately involved in the Riding Club of Barrington Hills (RCBH). As we’ve published previously, all three of these candidates and Elaine Ramesh, running separately from the slate, have all meticulously avoided nearly any reference to their penchant for all things equestrian during their campaigns.

The question being asked is, did these three choose to run because of their genuine interest in the welfare of all village residents, or did they run at the behest of others who share a hidden agenda?

The YBH candidates, can find no real fault with the record of the current administration, and have had to manufacture issues, frequently grossly misrepresenting facts in their mailers, social media platforms and their newspaper interviews, a technique taken out of the playbook of the former village president, and the Save 5 Acres and SOS campaigns in recent election cycles. Not only are their allegations not based in fact,  their responses to the candidate questionnaires published in two suburban newspapers, are nearly identical, as if penned by the same hand. They all present the same, disingenuous information, either by design to discredit and malign the current administration, or by laziness in researching village documents. Whatever the reason for the deception, none are worthy of candidacy for Village office.

Let’s examine some of the spin coming out of the Riding Club camp:

  • YBH Spin: The new 911 dispatch service is not working as well as the former in-house system?  REALITY: This is not supported by fact. According to the Chief of Police, the outsourced system actually provides better coverage and faster response times.
  • YBH Spin: Police coverage has diminished, thereby endangering residents’ safety. REALITY: This is not supported by fact, as the Village, with a static population, has had the same number of officers in the field for twenty years.
  • YBH Spin: There are no commercial businesses in Barrington Hills, and the village does not collect sales tax? REALITY: This is not supported by fact. There are a few businesses in the village, and annually $120,000 – $130,000 in sales taxes revenue is collected from them, according to Village records.
  • YBH Spin: The Village is being re-branded as embracing small lots? REALITY: This is not supported by fact. As best as we can figure, YBH is claiming this because the village website states “Large properties ranging from one to 10+ acres give residents more freedom to live how they want…” This is nothing more than a statement of fact. And, if Louis, Paula or Bob were actually familiar with the village’s official zoning map, they would know that 1-acre, 2-acre and 3-acre properties currently exist within Barrington Hills and have existed for decades (Burning Oak Trail, Barrington Bourne and Ashbury Lane to name just a few neighborhoods that have lots under 5 acres). These R-2, R-3 and R-4 districts are also referenced in the Village’s Comprehensive Plan.
  • YBH Spin: Open spaces are at risk and must be saved? REALITY: This is not supported by fact. Since the 2013 elections, to date, only 14 permits for single-family home construction have been issued for properties, all on 5 or more acres, with NO applications for subdivisions.
  • YBH Spin: FOIA expenses are out of control? REALITY: This is not supported by fact. Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) expenses are documented to be less than they were prior to 2013, and majority of the current expense can be attributed to three individuals, all of whom support this three-person slate.
  • YBH Spin: The current Administration is not protecting residents from intrusion by development in neighboring communities? REALITY: This is not supported by fact. The main issues raised by the Riding Club slate are Longmeadow Parkway (LMP) and the pending Plum Farm Development in Hoffman Estates, both of which could have been mitigated by the previous administration with proper proactive negotiation. The current administration has acted to the limits of the law in its attempts to discourage these plans. In addition to its resolution against LMP, the McLaughlin administration has opposed and spoken out against the IAA Auto Yard in East Dundee, the Speedway development in Lake Barrington in 2015, and voted against the widening of Route 62 2014-2017. And within the last month, Barrington Hills passed a 20-year border agreement with South Barrington.
  • YBH Spin: The Village Levy has not increased in twelve years? REALITY: This misrepresents the facts. According to published village financial records, the levy under the previous regime was set at $6,565,273 as set by previous administration in each of years 2011-2012-2013. The Village Board, lead by McLaughlin and trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan LOWERED the levy in each successive year from 2014 through 2016, down to $$5,319,862. This represents a cumulative reduction in the Levy of $1,736,467.

So we ask again: are these poor hapless candidates just dazed and confused, or have these hard-core equestrians been  coached by three village residents who have strong personal reasons to support this slate of Iacovelli, Jacobsen and Zubak, (as well as Elaine Ramesh whose candidacy was the subject of our previous feature)? Their close associates include 1) the vocal large-scale commercial boarding operator who has been involved in on-going litigation with the village for eight years, 2) the chairman of a large undeveloped property located in unincorporated McHenry County, who has been fanning the flames of controversy over repeal of the flawed Anderson II horse boarding ordinance, and 3) of course, the former village president who apparently is desirous of once again imposing his failed agendas upon our village.

We believe that the ultimate goal of all four of these candidates is to reinstate ordinances to permit unbridled, large-scale commercial boarding and unimpeded related commercial equestrian activities to the Village, at the expense of the rights of the rest of us to the peaceful enjoyment of our homes.

Unbridled commercial equestrian activities may be THEIR Barrington Hills, but it’s not OUR Barrington Hills.

 

 

 

 

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vote Both major regional newspapers recently released the responses to their Candidate Questionnaires.

Here are the trustee candidate questionnaires published in the Northwest Herald.

To read village president candidates’ answers to the Northwest Herald’s questions, click here.

The link to the Daily Herald’s village president profiles is here, and the trustee candidate profile link is here.

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The vast majority of taxing bodies potentially affected by a proposed $21 million tax refund for a development in western Hoffman Estates dislike the idea so much they rejected it twice Tuesday.  Members of the joint review board for the tax increment financing district requested by the developer for a 184-acre site at routes 59 and 72 first voted 7-1 against approving the eligibility for such an incentive, then voted 7-1 to actively reject its eligibility.

But even with two such votes against it, the proposal legally receives a 30-day period for the developer to adapt the request before the joint review board meets again at 1:30 p.m. April 18 at Hoffman Estates village hall.  And if the ultimate vote is still against the TIF district, the Hoffman Estates village board can still approve it with a supermajority.

The full text of the Daily Herald can be read here.

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(Several readers provided us with their observations after attending Wednesday night’s Hoffman Estates Village Meeting, and a later gathering of neighbors who heard from Martin McLaughlin.)

Last night, a group of concerned D220 & D300 taxpayers, led by elected officials Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin, District 220 School Board President Brian Battle and D220 Board Member Angela Wilcox, assembled at the Hoffman Estates Village Hall to attend the Planning & Zoning Commission Hearing on the proposed Plum Farms development and to speak on behalf of their constituents. However, shortly after they arrived, they learned that the Plum Farms hearing had been removed from the Agenda and deferred until April 5th.

Before the meeting start, we understand that McLaughlin, Battle and Wilcox assembled with the residents in attendance to strategize opposition to the mixed-use project that could introduce upwards of 500-800 new students to the two school districts. When notified that the Hoffman Estates commission would not be discussing the Plum Farms development at all, and would not be accepting any public comments before or after their regular agenda items, President McLaughlin entered his prepared comments on behalf of the residents of Barrington Hills to the Clerk. Those remarks have also been obtained by the Observer and you can read his comments here.   We will be interested to see if his comments in fact do make it into the Official Record.

(When it was apparent that there would be no opportunity for public input, McLaughlin departed to discuss updates from Springfield on the status of LMP, and also to discuss the Plum Farms (Iatarola) development with dozens of concerned constituents at a private village residence.)

After the Planning Meeting started, a number of Barrington Hills residents gathered outside the room. Current candidate for D220 School Board Mike Shackleton was in attendance, as were Louis Iacovelli and Paula Jacobsen, representing the Riding Club slate from “Your Barrington Hills” (YBH). D220 Board President Battle proceeded to describe in detail the scope of the proposed development and its projected negative impact on both D300 & D220 taxpayers. Meanwhile, the YBH candidates tried to insist that VBH won’t defend its residents, but offered no solutions of their own.

Another reader who attended the subsequent McLaughlin meeting tells us that some progress is being made on slowing down construction of  Longmeadow Parkway. State Senator Pamela Althoff, who is the sponsor of SB1518, is not accepting amendments to that “quick take” legislation, which means that the Autumn Trail properties cannot be added to the current bill. However, there is a “shell bill”’ (which is currently empty) which can be filled in later to include Autumn Trail for “quick-take”. McLaughlin, working in coordination with several trustees, affected Autumn Trail residents and other concerned property-owners have already filed over 150 witness slips in opposition to the shell bill, known as SB1066.

We thank our readers for their contributions to this segment, and we will continue keep you informed of any new developments.

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colleen-k-300x2002x

Colleen Konicek-Hannigan

After experiencing some political turbulence in the transition to a new administration in 2013, government in the village of Barrington Hills is beginning to settle back into a sense of stability, if not yet absolute calm. While the village has put a decades-old lawsuit behind it, reduced expenses and revised some of its communications systems, some residents remain concerned that more needs to be done — and that some of the things that have been done have moved the village in the wrong direction.

In that climate, seven people have filed to seek three available positions on the village board.  Readers can see the entire Daily Herald article by clicking on this link.

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McLaughlin

Martin J. McLaughlin

It’s not every elected official who can state unequivocally that he delivered on every campaign promise, but Martin McLaughlin can record his accomplishments in black and white — budget, spending and tax levy all reduced; settlement of labor issues and an unbelievably long-standing civil suit with Sears; efficiencies gained through consolidation of functions and resources and a variety of achievements aimed at maintaining the town’s rural charm; and building a greater sense of community. We didn’t endorse McLaughlin in his first bid for village president, but we can’t argue with the results on the balance sheet of his first term.

The full Daily Herald Editorial Board endorsement can be read here.

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