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The Summer issue of News from Village Hall was recently mailed out to residents.  Click here to read the issue online.

Topics include covered include announcement of the 6th Annual Hills Are Alive Fall Festival on Sunday September 30th, updates on the 2018 Road Program and the IDOT Route 62 study, news from the Police Department and much more.

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Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 2.45.14 PMOnce again, supporters of former Village President Bob Abboud have taken to the social media networks to begin creating a false controversy to stir the pot prior to the 2019 Village Board Elections.

Recently, some Facebook pages have started publishing information about the proposed Plum Farms Development in Hoffman Estates. One of these pages is purportedly run by the same individual who publicly cast aspersions upon the character of the Village President and members of the Board of Trustees in April of 2017 (but was unwilling and unable to provide any corroboration of her ridiculous accusations). See April 24th Board meeting recordings released.

Long-time readers of the Observer will recognize the same tired tactics of the Abboud-o-philes: create a false controversy, then stir up resident sentiment against current leadership and against those whom they may support in the upcoming elections. Save 5 Acres! Save Horse Boarding! Ban the Bikes! Save Open Space! Save Polo!

The Plum Farms Development in Hoffman Estates was used as a major 2017 campaign issue by Trustees Paula Jacobsen and Robert Zubak, but both have been eerily silent on the issue for well over a year. As candidates, Jacobsen and Zubak were so adamant about the Village having legal standing, authority and ability to impact this development, and they vowed to be the voices to vigorously “oppose harmful development”.

Today, as it was then, they chose to remain ignorant to the simple fact that this issue was over in 2004 when Bob Abboud and former administrator Bob Kosin botched the chance to work with the landowner to come to a development compromise that would have kept the property within the village, and would have protected our community from the dangers of deannexation of the parcel into an adjacent town with an insatiable hunger for more tax dollars.

But in fact, the current administration has been working in concert with South Barrington and District 220 to slow the progress of this development.  Strange that this hasn’t been reported by any of the social media outlets managed by those folks who enjoy stirring the pot.  Accusations of inaction and mismanagement by President McLaughlin and others on the Board will be aired, but nary a word of criticism of Jacobsen or Zubak.

And speaking of Jacobsen, the more vocal of the less-than-dynamic duo, what has she personally done with regard to Plum Farms as a Trustee? Nothing.  She bemoaned the Longmeadow Parkway project as a candidate, but did she volunteer to be on the IDOT advisory board for Route 62?  Nope.

Does anyone remember the laundry list of issues that she & Zubak used as their campaign platform? We do.

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The only issue they are truly interested in is commercial horse boarding, which wasn’t in their campaign platform at all.  Strange…

And back to that lengthy list of issues — what have they accomplished from that list? Nothing. And why?  Because none of those “problems” actually existed.

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Paula Jacobsen with former trustee Fritz Gohl

However, Jacobsen, who has been absent from more than 26% of the fifteen Board Meetings held since she was elected as trustee, has had the opportunity to advocate for some other interesting issues.  As stated in our previous articles, May and June 2017 Board meeting recordings released  and July Board Meeting recordings released , she has found time to question the meeting minutes which characterized her friend’s public comments at the April 24thboard meeting as slanderous.  She has questioned why the Village couldn’t have employed a warmer and fuzzier process to inform a property owner of their violation of a cease and desist order with regard to illegal demolition of a residence and violation of the tree ordinance. It should be noted that the property owner in that case was a prominent donor to her trustee campaign.

Jacobsen has pondered the complexity of the Exterior Lighting Ordinance and wondered if it shouldn’t be revisited and revised, oblivious to the divisive history of the ordinance.  Coincidentally, her interest in lighting ordinance enforcement occurred only when another friend of hers had filed a complaint against a neighbor.

Paula has also suggested giving landmark status to historical homes in the village.  When asked to explain who would be the arbiter of this distinction and the mechanics of implementation or enforcement, she had no suggestion.

She also has given detailed reports of Arbor Day plans by the Heritage & Environs Committee at no fewer than three meetings. Let’s hear it for the oak sapling giveaway!!

And there has been advocacy for costly live video-streaming of Village Board meetings, which are only attended by a handful of the same residents each month.

It is not surprising that NONE of these issues were in the Jacobsen/Zubak campaign platform and that NONE of the issues in the platform have been pursued by the duo in any meaningful way in the past fifteen months.

And why is that? Because a quiet village operating harmoniously is not something the Abboud-o-philes can tolerate.  They must have controversy and they will create controversy were none exists. And when faced with the reality that President McLaughlin & this Administration have delivered on each and every promise they have made to the community, they pivot back to the old worn-out talking points. The village is operating better than it ever has, spending has been slashed and services are more efficient.  And that makes some embittered people very unhappy.  Change is not easy for some. And they are desperate to regain control.

So the pot stirring will continue.  With a little eye of newt and toe of frog mixed in for good measure.  Here’s hoping that this bad spell will be broken soon.

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AnnaPaulBarrington Hills didn’t need to look far for its new village hall leader.

Former village clerk Anna Paul, who had been acting director of administration since January, will continue in that post on a permanent basis. The village board agreed to appoint her to the job Monday night.

“I am honored and appreciative that the board unanimously voted to appoint me for the position of director of administration,” Paul said. “Final details are still being worked out, but I look forward to continuing to serve the board and the residents of Barrington Hills.”

Village President Martin McLaughlin said Paul topped about 35 candidates for the job. She earned the position and a two-year contract with her performance over the past six months, he said.

“We’ve had some significant rain issues and road issues that really tested her,” McLaughlin said Tuesday. “We had a lot of flooding in the village that we had to coordinate with multiple agencies and towns and townships. She did a great job.”

Paul, who previously worked as village clerk and Barrington Hills’ communications chief, became acting director of administration Jan. 1. She replaced Robert Kosin, who retired after serving as director of administration since 1986.

McLaughlin said Paul knows Barrington Hills’ roughly 30 square miles “from head to toe.” He said there are more duties for Barrington Hills’ director of administration who heads a small village hall staff, compared to similar positions in larger communities.

“There are a lot of nuances to the village,” he said. “I mean, Anna really will be running everything from phone lines to computer systems to coordinating with four counties, two townships, two school districts.”

The rest of the Daily Herald article can be found here.

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2018 ROADS PROJECT UPDATE
The Cook County Department of Highways and Transportation 2018 Road Project:

OTIS AND BRINKER ROADS: Paving was completed last week, and weather permitting, striping is scheduled for this  week which will conclude the resurfacing project.

BARRINGTON HILLS 2018 ROADS PROJECT:

HONEYCUTT AND HILLS AND DALES ROADS: Monday, July 9th, they are placing the Final Surface Asphalt.

CHURCH ROAD AND ALGONQUIN RIVER ROAD: Wednesday, July 11th, they will be placing the Final Surface Asphalt on the remaining section of Church Road up to Algonquin River Road, and begin placing the Final Surface Asphalt on Algonquin River Road.

**Not part of the roads project but a notice to our residents that the low depressional area on Chapel Road is still completely underwater and has been determined to remain closed. Road closed signs are still in place.

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As part of the ongoing improvements associated with the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways, please be advised that on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, the work area on Otis Road will be closed to Non-Construction Traffic from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

It is necessary to restrict Non-Construction Traffic for safety issues created by the narrow roadway. Please let us know if there are any residents with special needs so we can make accommodations if necessary.  We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

In the event of inclement weather, the rescheduled date will be July 5th.

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The Village of Barrington Hills made this announcement via social media yesterday:

“Barrington Hills Road Program begins tomorrow, Wednesday, June 20th, on Hills and Dales & Honeycutt Roads and on Thursday, June 21st on Haeger’s Bend between Chapel and River Roads. Please proceed with caution and obey the traffic control measures.”

 

 

 

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Tonight’s Board of Trustees meeting will be the first official meeting for the village’s new engineering firm, Trotter & Associates.  We look forward to seeing their approach to municipal engineering and we hope that taxpayers will benefit from lowered costs and fresh ideas.

GHAWhile researching future content for the Observer, we stumbled across some interesting correspondence regarding Barrington Hills Farm (BHFW LLC) and our village’s former engineering firm, Gewalt Hamilton.  What we found is shocking, but it certainly makes the Village’s decision last year to change engineering companies very wise indeed.

According to documents found on McHenry County’s website, in December 2015, BHFW’s Chairman J. R. Davis was applying to McHenry County to convert part of an existing wetland on the property into a recreational pond.  As a result, some mitigation of the wetlands was necessary.  The specifics of the mitigation and request for credits from the Wetland Restoration Fund are not important.

What is important is the engineering firm that BHFW had hired to create their Wetland Mitigation Plan was Gewalt Hamilton.  And not just Gewalt Hamilton, but Dan Strahan himself , who was Barrington Hills’ Village Engineer at the time, was personally involved in the project.

Strahan is cc’ed on the Gewalt Hamilton letter to McHenry County on behalf of BHFW and Strahan’s signature even appears with Davis’ signature on the Wetland Restoration Fund application as the Design Engineer.

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To be clear, this was a project undertaken by a private property owner in unincorporated McHenry County immediately adjacent to the Village, and Strahan and Gewalt Hamilton were hired by that individual.  All at the same time when Strahan and Gewalt Hamilton were also employed by the Village of Barrington Hills.

We find it shocking that Gewalt Hamilton and Dan Strahan did not decline employment by BHFW & Mr. Davis in 2015, seeing as the firm had been serving Barrington Hills for decades.  Gewalt Hamilton & Strahan were well aware of the history of the Davis property, and in all likelihood would be called up by the Village to consult on the property in the future. It would be bad enough for any engineer employed by Gewalt Hamilton to have taken this job, let alone Dan Strahan.

Not surprisingly, Strahan indeed did end up personally involved in discussions on behalf of the Village regarding new driveways and dedicated easements and right-of ways for the proposed HARPS facility on BHFW property in 2016 & 2017.  It certainly gives us pause to wonder about the quality of the service the village and taxpayers received on that assignment.

Did Strahan and Gewalt ever divulge to the Village of Barrington Hills that they had been previously employed by Davis?

How could Strahan and Gewalt maintain any impartiality when they had been paid by both the Village and Davis?

Are there other projects that Gewalt has worked on for Davis and BHFW?

Did Strahan and Gewalt ever divulge this conflict of interest while they were applying for retention as the Village’s engineering firm?

Right now, we have more questions than answers.  We’ll leave it to our readers to draw their own conclusions.  We think the documents speak for themselves.

Click on the following links to  view the complete PDFs of the documents BHFarm_Gewalt_Wetland_1 and BHFarm_Gewalt_Wetland_2.

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