Archive for the ‘Audio Recordings’ Category

Four years ago we asked readers of The Observer to trust our judgment when voting for 3 new trustees to be on our Village Board of Trustees (see Croll, Maison and Cecola for Barrington Hills Trustees).

In what turned out to be a hard fought, oft times contentious campaign, some may have thought we were asking for a leap of faith from our readers, and we continue to appreciate the confidence bestowed upon us by our readers. Though this year’s campaign is the quietest we’ve witnessed in 10 years, the stakes are no less high than they were four years ago.

Five residents are running for three seats on our Board of Trustees. Two residents are incumbent Trustees, one is a current member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, the other two ran unsuccessfully for village positions in 2017.   Here are our thoughts on these five candidates:

Louis Iacovelli: Louis seems like an affable guy in the computer software business. His campaign website is well done, though it would be more suitable to have photo of a location in the Village on the home page and not unincorporated McHenry County.

We cannot support Louis candidacy for the simple reason his wife, Gigi Iacovelli, is the treasurer of the Barrington Hills Park District. Currently a candidate for election on the park board herself, she derives at least part of her income by providing lessons at the district. While this is not a direct conflict of interest, the potential for lack of objectivity may cause concern in a trustee position.

Linda H. Cools: Linda ran as a write-in candidate for trustee 2 years ago, and after two recent Board of Election hearings, she is running for trustee on the April 2nd ballot.

The best thing one can say about Linda is she will do anything to get elected. This was evidenced by the fact that she (‘misspoke’) under oath multiple times to the Village President, President Pro-Tem and the Deputy Village clerk (see Truth or consequences). We have no place in such a small village for unrepentant (misspeakers)!


Debra Buettner: Debra had served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for nearly 4 years when President McLaughlin asked her to consider running for Trustee. When she asked if he needed her help, he replied “Yes.” And that’s why she’s running today.

Debra founded her law firm about the same time she moved to the village nearly thirty years ago.   She is a graduate of Barrington High School, and she has her CPA as well as a law degree. Her confident attitude and her experience on the Zoning Board warrant our endorsement for Board of Trustees.


Brian D. Cecola: Brian became a Trustee in 2015 and was given responsibility for Roads and Bridges as well as Public Safety.   No one adequately prepared him for the conditions he would be inheriting, but as most residents now recognize, he was up for the challenge and then some.

Brian also graduated from Barrington High School and he also owns his own business. He and his wife, Stephanie, and their three children are active in the community, participating in the neighborhood clean up days and riding trail maintenance.

Brian is also very active in philanthropy, is President of the Lions Club, and helped found and run the Fourth of July tent and fireworks. Despite all this, when President McLaughlin asked him to serve another term, he agreed, and he has our wholehearted endorsement.

Bryan C. Croll: Bryan was also elected to the Board of Trustees in 2015. He has been in charge of monitoring the finances of the village with the day-to-day oversight Peggy Hirsch, Village Treasurer.   He and Peggy also keep track of police pension fund performance.

Bryan and his wife Josie have three children and he manages his family business remotely in Arizona.   He donates his spare time to causes such as Barrington Area Conservation Trust and the local riding club.

We had some concerns with Bryan’s willingness to work with others early on in his first term. We now are equally concerned with his motivations in seeking a second term, and this publication cannot in good conscience unreservedly endorse him.   

Overall endorsements: The Daily Herald, Village President Martin McLaughlin and President Pro-Tem Colleen Konicek Hannigan have endorsed Bryan Croll, Brian Cecola and Debra Buettner for Trustees of Barrington Hills.

Cecola and Buettner have the unconditional support of The Barrington Hills Observer. Both have demonstrated a passion for our Village and willingness to serve our community. Both display the honesty, dedication and sound judgement that will represent the residents of Barrington Hills admirably for the next four years.

Early voting ends today, April 1.  Election Day polls open tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM.

Please Vote!


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pavement-markingAudio recordings from the April 20, 2017 meeting of the Roads & Bridges Committee  have been posted. To access the menu of recordings edited by agenda item, click here.

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Audio recordings from the February 17th Meeting of the Roads & Bridges Committee have been posted to the Village website.  To access the main menu of recordings edited by agenda topic, click here

There were two speakers during the public comment portion of the meeting who referenced the current fight against the Longmeadow Parkway, and their remarks can be heard here

Agenda items that were discussed during the short meeting included clarification of jurisdiction of the Green Rail Bridge which carries Oak Knoll Road over Flint Creek.  It has been determined that the Village and Cuba Township each control 50% of the bridge and a memo will be prepared to reflect the agreed-upon sharing of on-going maintenance costs.

The long-discussed permit for the second driveway onto Church Road for the proposed Barrington Hills Farm/HARPS facility, located at the northeast corner of Church and Chapel has finally been issued.  Thankfully, no representatives of the farm were in attendance to sling out their usual protests, accusations and innuendos.

The meeting proceeded smoothly to a review of upcoming 2017 construction projects  within Barrington Hills which are planned by Cook and Kane Counties.  Cook County Department of Transportation confirmed that  resurfacing of Brinker Road, from Route 62 to County Line Road, and of Otis Road, from Old Sutton to Brinker Road is on the schedule, although construction may not begin until 2018.

Kane County has noted that the Longmeadow Parkway is their priority project for the year and the portion of the project in Barrington Hills from IL 62 to east of IL 25, was described as having a target letting of “late summer/fall 2017”, with construction in 2017 and 2018.

Seasonal posting of weight limit reductions on all village roads will begin on February 27th and is expected to last until the beginning of May.  No overweight truck traffic  (over ten tons) will be allowed on village maintained roads during this period in order to protect the roads from damage during the freeze/thaw cycle.

chapel_rd_flooding Lastly, Chapel Road is scheduled to be resurfaced on this year’s road program.  A review of the history of water flooding over the road from the two wetlands located on either side of Chapel took place.  Given the uncertainty of the construction schedule for the proposed HARPS facility, Chairman Brian Cecola suggested that perhaps work on Chapel Road should be delayed until the HARPS construction has concluded, in order to prevent damage from semis and other overweight construction related vehicles.  Cecola directed that the engineers should suggest an alternate road for inclusion in this year’s program, should Chapel be deferred for another year.  Fritz Gohl suggested speaking to the landowners to both the north and south of the road to see if they would be willing to perform some work on their properties to help lower the level of the water in the wetlands and to prevent, or at least reduce, some of the road flooding.

The recording of the full discussion section can be heard here



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 Audio recordings from the January 9th Special Meeting of the Roads & Bridges Committee have been posted to the Village website.  To access the main menu of recordings edited by agenda topic, click here.

 Representatives from Enbridge and their contractors attended the meeting and answered questions involving an upcoming petroleum pipeline maintenance project in Fox River Grove, which will begin the week of January 16th.   The project will take place along Algonquin River Road (between Church and Braeburn Roads) on the northern border of the village.  Expected to last several months, construction will impact local traffic and motorists will likely encounter prolonged lane closures on River Road during the height of the work. 

Directly impacted residents should receive notification about the project from Enbridge, and the Village also expects to send out community alerts as needed.  Click here to listen to the Enbridge discussion.  

The committee was also updated on the Longmeadow Parkway (LMP). Kane County has started tree removal in conjunction with the project, with the Barrington Hills portion included in the early phases. However, the Village had notified Kane County that Autumn Trail is a private road, and not a village road and had suggested that Kane’s Resolution to assume maintenance responsibility of the portion of Autumn Trail affected by LMP be revised to clarify this. Review of the approved resolution showed that no changes had been made by Kane County to reflect the inaccuracy.

The last agenda item was an unnecessarily protracted discussion of the terms for the dedication of an easement to the Village for landscape, drainage and/or utilities on the western edge of the proposed HARPS facility located at the corner of Church and Chapel Roads in unincorporated McHenry County.  Nearly 45 minutes of the meeting was devoted to the topic, with several tedious questions by Trustee Gohl.  He questioned why the Village would have to grant the landowner any permitted easement at all.  He was informed by the village engineer that this same access permit process would be required of any property owner wishing to create a roadway entry point for anything more than a typical single family residential use (e.g. a new subdivision or an accessory driveway), due to the increased impact to the road, the multiple access points, wider required access points, etc.

And once again, the father of the former village president, who is also a representative of Barrington Hills Farm, once again attempted to insinuate that the village was intentionally dragging its feet in approving the easement, thus delaying the start of construction of the entire project.  However, he did admit that it was the trust’s own decision not to proceed with the other aspects of the project.

The Board of Trustees is expected to approve the agreement at their next meeting on Monday January 23rd.  The full discussion of the easement matter can be found here.

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Audio recordings from the October 20th meeting of the Roads & Bridges Committee have been posted to the Village website.  To access the main menu of recordings edited by agenda topic, click here.

One person made public comments, however he was with a firm that will be submitting a bid to provide engineering services to Barrington Hills.

The 2017 road resurfacing program was discussed, and, for the second year in a row, Committee Chair Brian Cecola suggested that resurfacing of the Village Hall parking lot should be postponed in favor of further catching up on residential road maintenance.  The village engineer stated he would look into which roads may be brought forward from the 2018 work schedule that would fit into the budget, if the parking lot resurfacing be postponed.

Drainage issues along a portion of Oak Knoll Road were discussed at the suggestion of Trustee Konicek, and that conversation can be heard here.

A Longmeadow Parkway update was provided that should be of interest to Autumn Trail residents.  It seems Kane County was unaware this road is private and that homeowners own the right of ways, not the Village, as can be heard here.

This discussion later expanded to the ramifications of the Longmeadow Parkway project from already congested traffic on Algonquin Road/Route 62 and proactive efforts by Village officials to mitigate safety issues for residents should that roadway ever be expanded to four lanes.  Intersections at Bateman and Old Sutton Roads, as well as horse trail crossings, are among the biggest concerns expressed during the meeting.

The next Roads & Bridges meeting is scheduled for December 15th.

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Audio recordings from the September 22nd Roads & Bridges Committee meeting are available for review on the Village website.  To access the menu of edited recordings by agenda topic, click here.

Trustee Gohl managed to make an appearance for the second month in a row, after over a year of consistent absences.  Perhaps the fact that he’s up for re-election next April has motivated him to fulfill his responsibility as a voting member of the committee.

The meeting began with a general discussion of the plowing services to be provided by Cuba Township for the upcoming winter season for Village roads.  Randy Marks, Highway Commissioner for the township, provided an overview of how the township deploys plows based on varying forecasts and weather conditions.

Marks reviewed with the committee the township’s policy of replacing mailboxes that may be damaged by plowing, especially if the post is not properly set in the ground, or the mailbox is not properly secured.  If a mailbox is damaged on a Village maintained road, residents can contact the Township Roads Department (website link here), and they will come out and replace it with a basic post, mailbox, or both as a part of their services free of charge.

Final detail work on the Veterans’ Crossing Bridge is nearly complete, and another ceremony is planned next month on Veteran’s Day at the bridge site.  The committee discussed concerns expressed by residents regarding line of sight at the bridge intersections and plan to address them, including clearing plant growth obstructing views at stop signs.

The 2016 road resurfacing projects have been completed, and two additional roads (Hawthorne Lane and River Road) which were not scheduled until next year for resurfacing were included in this year’s program.  Despite the addition of future projects, this year’s roads maintenance expenses still came in slightly under budget.

Chapel, Church and the northern portion of Haegers Bend Roads are scheduled for resurfacing in 2017. However, since this year’s program was so productive, the committee will be reviewing the overall long-term plan to evaluate future resurfacing projects than may be brought forward while asphalt prices are still reasonable.

The last discussion item was a right of way dedication along Church Road in preparation for Barrington Hills Farm’s planned development of a new HARPS facility – a topic Trustee Cecola has apparently received a number of questions about, specifically as to why approval is taking “so long.”  The recording of the process necessary to make this happen can be heard here, and it involves more Village bodies than simply the Roads & Bridges Committee.

It’s unclear if any political hay is being made over any perceived delay, but the recordings bear out the fact that the time needed for approval involved plans submitted by the developer of the property to the county (not Barrington Hills), and the fact that the proposed development is not in Barrington Hills.  It was mentioned that the Village requested to be involved when the HARPS plans were being considered by McHenry County, but county officials declined.

The next meeting of the Roads & Bridges Committee is scheduled for October 20th.

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Audio recordings from the August 25th meeting of the Roads & Bridges Committee meeting are available for review on the Village website.  There was no public comment during a fairly routine meeting, however, we are pleased to report Trustee Gohl, who is assigned to the committee, attended the meeting for the first time in well over a year.

Finishing touches are being completed on Veteran’s Crossing (formerly the Cuba Road Bridge), including trash cleanup and seeding and grading where grass was disturbed.  Dan Strahan, Village Engineer, also reiterated that the Village will receive a discount off of the final invoice for the bridge reconstruction due the Contractor’s delay in the completion of the bridge.

Spring Creek Road west of Haegers Bend Road will be closed until December due to road work.  This is primarily due to work Algonquin is performing on Highland Avenue, however, Barrington Hills is paying for a small portion of the work to resurface the road within our border.

It was reported that the 2016 roads and drainage projects as well as engineering fees are coming in at or below budget even with the addition earlier this year of resurfacing a portion of River Road which was scheduled for 2017.

IDOT issued a transportation bulletin which included a request for proposal for “Phase I” engineering feasibility study in 2017 for the widening of Algonquin Road (IL 62) to four lanes in Barrington Hills in anticipation of the Longmeadow Parkway Project going through.  Strahan noted this planning project was specified as a 48-month task, so even this first step would likely take over four years.

Trustee Cecola mentioned that in a prior meeting with an IDOT official on the matter it was agreed that some form of crossing to allow horseback riders would be considered over the widened roadway in the form of a bridge or an underpass to prevent the disconnection of trails.  That full IDOT discussion can be heard here.

To access the menu of edited recordings by agenda topic, click here.

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Audio recordings from the June 16th Roads & Bridges meeting have been posted to the Village website.  To access the menu of edited recordings by agenda topic, click here.

Two residents made public comments on a variety of topics, and their remarks to the committee can be heard here.

The Cuba Road Bridge reconstruction project update followed and brought news of further delays.  Dan Strahan, Village Engineer, reported that the contractor on the project requested the deadline for completion of the bridge be extended due to an error on their part with “shop drawings” and a change in steel support materials. 

Both IDOT and the Village refused an extension, and depending on how far beyond the original final date for completion it takes to reopen the bridge, IDOT and the Village will likely get monies back in the form of penalties deducted from the final invoice.  The contractual deadline for completion is August 7th.

When Strahan concluded his report, Chairman Cecola remarked that he expected he would be receiving calls from residents regarding what seem like undue further delays.  The discussion of the further Cuba Road Bridge SNAFU’s can be heard here.

Updates on the 2016 road programs, including pavement markings for some roads, patching of Ridge Road, drainage issues and the planned roadwork on Helm, Healy, River and Woodcreek Roads, as well as Lakeview, Hawthorne and Tamarack Lanes were then discussed.

Trustee Cecola, who also oversees public safety, concluded the meeting with some comments on recent vehicular accidents in the Village, including one involving one of our officers, and his praise of how our officers have responded to these unfortunate occurrences.  His remarks can be heard by clicking here.

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Village Hall staff recently released recordings from the May 19th meeting of the Roads & Bridges Committee meeting.  The link to the menu of edited recordings by agenda item can be accessed here.

The meeting lasted just over an hour and began with two residents making public comments.  The first was concerned about “pooling” water on a property on Old Hart Road due to possible culvert issues.  The second resident spoke of numerous topics including private property drainage projects leading to water on Village roads, delays on the Cuba Road Bridge project, “cut-through” commuter traffic littering our Village roads and how the Longmeadow Parkway Project will exacerbate this problem.    

Both of their comments can be heard here.

Bids for the 2016 roads program brought some good news, since the costs of asphalt is significantly lower than in previous years due to the decline in petroleum prices.  As a result, the costs to resurface roads planned for this year will be about $100,000 less than originally budgeted.

Dan Strahan of Gewalt Hamilton then suggested resurfacing the parking lots at Village Hall with the surplus budget money available.  This project was originally slated for next year according to a plan recommended by Strahan, but Chairman Cecola repeatedly instructed Strahan to seek other future Village road projects to move forward to this year that will be more beneficial to residents.

It’s perplexing to us why Strahan would make such a recommendation considering he authored a report on the significant backlog of road resurfacing projects in 2014 (as we previously reported here), and he proposed restriping the Village Hall parking lots just last year, which was performed at a lower price than the original bidder Strahan presented after Cecola requested a new proposal.

The discussion of the 2016 road projects can be heard here.

It was reported that Chapel Road is once again flooding in an area near where the new HARPS facility is planned.  At times water heights are high enough that the road must be closed.  The committee plans to address this issue, and road repair, possibly including raising the roadway, will take place in 2017.     

The resurfacing of Spring Creek Road will take place sometime towards the fall now since Algonquin wishes to keep highland Avenue open for summer baseball league play according to the recordings.  Also, Cook County officials apparently told some Brinker Road residents who inquired that Brinker will be resurfaced sometime next year, however this has not been confirmed by Village officials.

The Cuba Road Bridge is now tentatively scheduled to open before the July 4th holiday.  Work around the bridge, such as cleanup and landscaping, will continue throughout July.  The recording of that project update can be heard here.

Under “New Business,” President McLaughlin distributed a rough draft of a request for proposal for providing engineering services to Barrington Hills.  He explained this is not a reflection on the services Gewalt Hamilton has been providing, but an effort to make sure the Village is receiving competitive rates.  That recording can be accessed by clicking here.

Trustee Cecola closed the meeting with some comments on the Longmeadow Parkway Project as a result of contact he’s had with residents.  He reiterated the fact that the Village Board passed a resolution in 2015 opposing the construction of roadway (see “Resolution of Opposition to Construction of the Longmeadow Parkway (Bolz Road) Bridge”), and that the board also declined  to approve the latest McHenry County Transportation Plan as drafted due to its specific support of the Longmeadow project.  His comments can be heard here.

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Audio recordings from the April 21st Roads & Bridges Committee meeting have been posted to the Village website for residents to review.  Those interested in the status of the Cuba Road Bridge reconstruction project should pay particular attention to the public comments recording, since the bridge reopening might be delayed until as late as early July due to utilities not being properly relocated before construction began.  

A resident asked Dan Strahan, of Gewalt Hamilton and Bob Kosin, Village Administrator, why they did not provide better oversight of the relocation of utility lines prior to the general contractor beginning their work.  The speaker pointed out this project has been discussed and planned for years, so this delay should have been avoided.

Not surprisingly, Strahan and Kosin stated it was the fault of the utility companies and not theirs.  However, recordings from the February Roads & Bridges show the utility companies involved (AT&T, ComEd and Comcast), had moved their lines “late last summer,” which provided more than ample time for inspection by Gewalt Hamilton and others to make sure they were properly relocated in order for the bridge work to proceed on schedule.   

The recording of the understandably frustrated resident’s questions can be accessed by clicking here.

The menu of edited recordings by agenda topic from the meeting can be accessed here.

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