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 Audio recordings from the April 24, 2017 meeting of the Board of Trustees have been posted. To access the menu of recordings edited by agenda item, click here.

The meeting began with service awards being presented to outgoing Trustees Fritz Gohl and Mike Harrington.  President Martin McLaughlin very graciously acknowledged the service and work provided to the village by these two individuals over their terms.  His words were particularly diplomatic towards the latter, considering the highly critical vitriolic speeches that Harrington routinely directed towards McLaughlin. Those diplomatic remarks by the President, as well as Gohl’s unnecessary parting shot of  “don’t F* up the five acre zoning”, can be heard here.

Next, one speaker, Kristina Anderson, made public comment on two issues, and due to the very inflammatory and accusatory nature of her remarks, we have transcribed them  in full at the end of this article.  You can listen for yourself here.  Apparently, in the eyes of the equestrian extremists loyal to the former village president, campaigning for the 2019 Election has already begun, continuing on the false narrative presented by the newly elected Your Barrington Hills trustees — Paula Jacobsen and Bob Zubak — during this year’s election cycle.

During the Finance portion of the meeting, the hiring of a part-time permit coordinator for the Building Department was discussed.  Village resident Nikki Panos was hired last month after interviewing with the Personnel Committee, Village Administrator Bob Kosin, Village Clerk Anna Paul and Ken Garrett from the Building Department.

It was explained that the Village’s Building Code Enforcement Officer Ken Garrett had been devoting 30-40% of his time in the office, mainly performing filing duties, and was being compensated at the rate of $100/hour.  The new permit coordinator is being paid $20/hour, creating a substantial cost savings to the village, and allowing Garrett to spend more productive time in the field. It was further explained that having a resident as coordinator is beneficial, as there is less of a learning curve for an employee who already understands the complexities of the village and has a better familiarity of obscure village roads, etc.

In the Public Safety portion of the meeting, Trustee Brian Cecola complimented the Police Department on its successful use of the Village’s reverse-911 alerts in helping inform residents about a missing fifth-grade girl earlier in the month.

Chief Semelsberger addressed the aforementioned public commenter’s complaints regarding the supposed discontinuation of the non-emergency police phone number.  He explained that Monday-Friday, from 8 AM-4PM, the police non-emergency number, (847) 551-3006, is the same as it has always been, and then after-hours, the QuadCom non-emergency number should be used.  Either way, dispatchers answer the phone, press a button on their console and are able to direct police to the person’s home.  If (847) 551-3006 is called after-hours, the caller receives a message giving them the QuadCom non-emergency number which is (847) 428-8784. The Chief expressed satisfaction with the operation of the system and stressed that a non-emergency number is always available to residents, in addition to 911 services. Readers can listen to the full discussion by clicking this link.

During the Planning section, President McLaughlin refuted the commenter’s allegations about the lack of Barrington Hills’ leadership being involved in the ongoing Hoffman Estates development battle.  He described that he has personally attended three public meetings.  Trustee Michelle Maison has, in fact, also attended and presented at a public meeting, as well as  participated in a pre-meeting with representatives of School District 220 and District 300 to plan joint strategies to address the Hoffman Estates annexation/development of the Iatarola property at the northwest corner of Routes 72 & 59. Adminstrator Kosin has also participated in a number of meetings.  McLaughlin described the current attempt to amend the existing pre-annexation agreement dating back to 2004, back when the property was originally de-annexed from Barrington Hills.  He complimented Ms. Anderson’s involvement in advocating for a group of citizens, but was very clear that her perception of lack of involvement on the part of the village board or administration is completely unfounded and she should know better because she personally was in attendance at meetings where McLaughlin, Maison and Kosin all presented remarks.  In addition, he reminded the public that many meetings and discussions have taken place in between public meetings with school district representatives and various attorneys from the villages involved.

McLaughlin further expressed that Barrington Hills is operating from a deficit position, legally speaking, as our village does not have a boundary agreement with Hoffman Estates, unlike South Barrington which does. However, due to our good relationship with South Barrington, the village has been permitted to sit in on meetings with them and to provide input representing our village’s interests.  (It should be noted that Barrington Hills approached Hoffman Estates in 2013 and 2014 concerning a border agreement, but Hoffman Estates expressed no interest in such an agreement.)  McLaughlin also described the united front that D220 & D300 are presenting to the proposed development.

McLaughlin also addressed Anderson’s allegation that members of the board may have personal interests in the Iatorola development, stating ” I have no idea where that’s coming from”. He further described his good working relationship and open lines of communication with Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod.  And the board members all scoffed at the insinuation that anyone was in favor of eliminating five acre zoning.

The Planning portion of the meeting can be heard here in its entirety.  Unfortunately, Ms. Anderson had exited the meeting after making her remarks, so she heard none of the corrections to her unfounded inflammatory comments.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Good evening, I’m Kristina Anderson. I live at ### here in the beautiful village of Barrington Hills. Before I get to the main reason why I’m here tonight, I want…seeing the Chief, I just wanted to comment, maybe someone has already said this to you guys the residents really miss the police non-emergency number. We loved it. When something would happen that we didn’t deem a life and death emergency but, you know, they’re back on Healy setting off fireworks or things like this, the ability to call our own police and report it and have them come out and deal with it was fantastic. So I don’t know how much of a cost savings was achieved by getting rid of it, but if it’s a buck or five bucks a household I think most residents would pay it. So I would urge you to reconsider that. If there is a logistical problem to not having it that I don’t know, forgive me. But if there is a way to put it back in, residents loved it and residents miss it. We love our police they do an awesome job. We don’t want to put them to more work than we should, but when they are available to come out on the non-emergency calls, they deal with um problems before the problem gets worse. And that’s really nice.

But why I’m really here tonight, is in fact, to talk about the five acre zoning and to see if am some of the trustees and/or President McLaughlin can take up the cause of the Hoffman Estates development. As you know the continued zoning meeting over there is tonight. I don’t know if any of you are going or you’re sending your village lawyer, which I would strongly urge you to do. Because South Barrington is sending their village lawyers. They sent them last week …their mayor, their trustees, their village engineer, and is really stepping up. And I’d really like to see Barrington Hills step up in the same way and fight for our residents on the issue of five acre zoning, which becomes threatened the more dense developments we have on our borders. As we build more and more dense developments on the borders, super dense, crazy dense like this one which even Hoffman Estates says is unprecedented in its density, we then create the opportunity for people to feather in from the village, have 2 ac… you know, a quarter acre, a half an acre, one acre, two acres, and we shrink the village down into its central little nugget as we do that.

And we know that the Hills & Dales Duchossois property, the Cressey property, are zoned already by McHenry County for less than five acres. Some of you guys may want that, some of you guys might be realtors, or real estate owners or developers. Some of you guys may have a personal connection to Mr. Iatarola or his family, or those investments. We know there are people in the community that do and want to protect their investments and I would urge you guys to disclose that – if you have interests in the Iatarola property or have interests in seeing the village go to less than five-acre zoning. But I would also urge you guys, if you’re committed to five acre zoning, to tell us all that you are committed to five acre zoning, say that publicly, that you’re going to fight for it, and then really step up and fight for it because this is the way to keep the village the way that it is. And I don’t think any of you want Barrington Hills to be South Barrington or Hoffman Estates. Those are great communities but those aren’t the ones we moved to.

So, I speak for many, many people who couldn’t be here tonight and who are members of the group is opposing the Hoffman development. We are concerned about that and the impact upon the village, the traffic, the schools, all of it. Public safety, um, the truth is that no one knows what that development is going to look like and no one knows if it’s going to be fancy or low-income housing. We don’t know, we really don’t know and so its really important that we fight for the village and its safety and security, and to make sure, as we move forward, the Oak Knoll property that’s fifty acres, the Duchossois property if that eventually goes, we don’t want to see those become high density too and this sets a dangerous precedent. So, I speak for the residents in urging you guys to continue to fight this.

 

 

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VBH__Logo The Village Board will meet on Monday April 24th at 6:30 PM. The agenda and e-Packet can be viewed here.

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VBH__Logo The Village Board will meet on Tuesday March 21st at 5:15 PM. The e-Packet can be viewed here.

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Audio recordings from the December 19th meeting of the Board of Trustees are available on the Village website.  To access the full menu of recordings, click here.

One resident, who also serves as chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, made remarks during public comment, seeking to set the record straight on a statement made by Trustee Fritz Gohl during the Board of Trustees Special Meeting on December 7th. Those remarks can be heard here.

During the Finance portion of the meeting, the Board of Trustees voted to approve the tax levy for 2017.  Once again, the levy amount is down from the previous fiscal year, with a reduction of $972,000. (A tax levy is the total amount of property taxes that a village asks for from taxpayers in order to balance its budget, after taking in account other revenue sources.)

In addition, the Village Budget for 2017 is also lower than 2016, with projected expenditures of $7,580,000, down from $7,853,000.

The full Finance recording can be found here.

Discussion of  Building Enforcement activities revolved primarily around a residence on Tamarack Lane whose owner had created an unauthorized driveway onto Route 68, prompting complaints from IDOT and inspection by the Village. There were also concerns that the property owner may be using the property in violation of the Home Occupation Ordinance (HOO).  The homeowner had indicated that the excess vehicles and equipment on the property would be removed by the end of that week,  potentially remedying his HOO problem, but the issue of closure of the access onto Route 68 remains.  The village has requested a court date in January to enforce closure of the unauthorized driveway.

In the matter of the Saville Row residence which had been found to be in violation of the HOO, the village is still awaiting payment of the $25,000 fine, which has a January 7th deadline according to the settlement that was approved in October.

The recording of the Building and Zoning portion of the meeting can be found here.

The Board of Trustees also voted to approve expending staff resources and time to research re-authorization of an twenty year Intergovernmental Agreement with South Barrington when the current border agreement expires in approximately three years.  That discussion can be found here.

 

 

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We are very pleased to announce that we have two outstanding recipients of the 2016 Shining Star AwardTrustee Brian Cecola and Village Treasurer Margaret “Peggy” Hirsch. Each of them, in their own way, has been a force for positive change in our village government.

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As many of our readers know, Brian Cecola was elected as a Trustee in 2015 after another brutal campaign season. Voters hoped that Cecola, having been a fireman and with real-world job experience in paving and snowplowing, would be an asset on the village board. Recognizing this strong resume, Village President Martin McLaughlin assigned Cecola the chairmanship of the Roads and Bridges Committee as well as Public Safety.

Brian took to both roles easily, but he has definitely had the biggest impact when dealing with infrastructure issues. The village has made great strides in catching up on the backlog of road resurfacing projects which accumulated under the past administration. And Cecola repeatedly has gone to bat for residents to stretch their tax dollars farther. For example, the Village Engineer suggested prioritizing resurfacing the Village Hall parking lots when a surplus in the Roads and Bridges Budget emerged this year. Instead, Cecola instructed the engineer to move forward to this year other future road projects which would be more beneficial to residents, after confirming with the engineer that delaying the parking lot project would not lead to dangerous deterioration in the short term. And, in 2015, Brian requested a new bid proposal for restriping the village hall lots after determining the original bidder was much too high, again saving taxpayers money.

During the process of the reconstruction of the Cuba Road Bridge (now named Veteran’s Crossing Bridge), when it was discovered that numerous utilities had been relocated incorrectly, Cecola took a pro-active role in meeting with Com Ed to discuss the problems their crews had caused by their newly installed, but misplaced, utility poles. Corrective action was expedited by ComEd, and a potentially significant delay in the completion of the bridge project was averted due to Brian’s intervention.

Brian has also pushed for Village membership into the Northwest Municipal Conference, which was approved by the Board of Trustees via an Intergovernmental Agreement with Cook County. As a result, the schedule for the direly needed rehabilitation of Brinker Road should be accelerated, and Federal funds should be available to help with the costs, without any need for bike lanes to be integrated into the project.

In addition to his service on the Barrington Hills Village Board, Brian is also very active in the community – he is immediate Past-President of the Barrington Lions Club and is instrumental in the annual Fourth of July Brat Tent and Barrington Fourth of July activities, along with his wife Stephanie.

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Our second 2016 Shining Star is Margaret “Peggy” Hirsch. Peggy took on the part-time role of Village Treasurer in March 2016, and has impressed us with her high level of skill and competence. She has brought an impressive resume to the office, having earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Chicago. She has held numerous high-ranking financial positions at top firms in the Chicago area, and has also served as Treasurer for the Village of Lake Barrington since 2013, bringing much needed municipal experience to her new position in our village.

Hirsch makes it a point to attend Board of Trustee meetings where she capably and easily fields questions from the trustees on a myriad of complex monthly financial reports. Her thoroughness and professionalism are apparent and the village should consider itself lucky to have an individual of her caliber on its staff.

Peggy and her husband David are also Barrington Hills residents, and they both dedicate their talents to TeamDad, LLC, created by David in 1998 to support the efforts of Illinois Fatherhood Initiative and other non-profit fatherhood organizations across the United States.

We should be proud as a village to have Brian Cecola and Peggy Hirsch volunteer their talents to serve their hometown community. These 2016 Shining Star award recipients are to be commended for the time and energy they devote on a daily basis to making Barrington Hills a better place for us to live. Thank you from your neighbors and from all of us at the Observer!

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The Board of Trustees will be holding their regular monthly meeting Monday, December 19th, at 6:30 PM.  A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

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Audio recordings from the October 24th meeting of the Board of Trustees have been posted to the Village website, and the menu of edited recordings by agenda topic can be accessed by clicking here.

Two residents made public comments regarding Longmeadow Parkway and interior decorating of Village Hall.  Those can be heard here.

The treasurer reported FOIA and OMA expenses have been $44,220 for the first nine months of 2016 during the finance report.  Trustees requested a breakdown of those expenses by requestor, and a report will be presented at their next meeting.

It should be noted that not all FOIA and OMA requests require legal review, however those that do represent about one-third of the total expenses year-to-date from Bond Dickson, attorneys for the Village.  The discussion of these expenses can be heard here.

The treasurer also reported the Police Pension Board had met that morning, and they were going to be reviewing the performance of the investment manager they have been using, which we applaud considering the underperformance of their funds compared to market averages.

The Roads & Bridges report included an update on the McHenry County Council of Government’s (MCCOG) transportation plan to continue their support of Longmeadow Parkway and the widening of Algonquin Road/Route 62 in Barrington Hills for 2017.  The Board of Trustees refused to sign off on MCCOG’s 2016 plan due to their support of Longmeadow Parkway, and a review of the steps the Village has taken in the last three years to meet with residents on both Longmeadow and Algonquin Road issues was provided.   The recording of that discussion can be heard here.

The balance of the meeting was fairly routine, but it was mentioned new paint and floor coverings will be coming to Village Hall soon after years of deferral.

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