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Archive for the ‘Legal Expenses’ Category

VBH__LogoThe Village Board will meet on Monday August 28th at 6:30 PM. The agenda can be viewed here and the e-Packet can be found here.

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VBH__LogoThe Village Board will meet on Monday June 26th at 6:30 PM. The agenda can be viewed here. The e-Packet was not posted as of Saturday evening, but we presume when it is posted, it will be found here.

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VBH__LogoThe ePacket agenda containing links to documents to be discussed during Tuesday evening’s Village Board meeting has been posted.  To access the ePacket link, click here.

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Friday FlashbackFollowing are some of the articles published by The Observer in November in the last few years. These articles, gathered from various publications and editorials, are noteworthy for residents in that they remind us of where we’ve been as a community.

Despite changes, horse boarding controversy continues – 2011

Embattled horse farm owners say they have been complying with the Village of Barrington Hills zoning code and its president agreed, though neighbors still insist the farm is operating illegally and should be shut down.

Benjamin and Cathleen LeCompte, owners of Oakwood Farms in Barrington Hills, and Village President Robert Abboud said the farm has changed a few operation standards, and has been in compliance with the village’s Home Occupation Zoning Ordinance since February.

Read the TribLocal article published five years ago here.

An economic proposal to control horse boarding businesses – 2011

This Monday evening, November 14, 2011, the Zoning Board of Appeals will again take up the controversial subject of large-scale commercial horse boarding in our Village.  Numerous proposals have been floated, rejected, and then floated again in recent memory.  Who knows what will come out of Village Hall after Monday’s meeting.  Here is an idea: If large horse boarding businesses are going to be allowed in our Village, at the expense of our quiet residential character, they should pay fees and taxes as businesses.

Read the original Observer editorial here.

Barrington Hills 2012 Resident Survey Results – 2012

On October 22, 2012, The Observer published the Barrington Hills 2012 Resident Survey.  Readers and subscribers participated, as did many of the more than eight hundred residents who received an invitation to take the survey via email.  By the time the survey period closed on Sunday October 28, two hundred twenty-six residents had completed the survey, and eighty-four of them chose to provide their own personal comments and insightful observations based on their years living in the Village.

Revisit the Village survey results from four years ago here.

Better safe than sorry – 2014

Last month during a special Village Board meeting, the Board of Trustees had the opportunity to ask questions of three law firms who were invited to present their qualifications to serve Barrington Hills.  Board members asked representatives of Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle their opinion on whether the Village should undertake legislation changing our Village Code related to horse boarding [Anderson II] when there is active litigation occurring between two private parties if such legislation might affect one party over the other.

David McArdle, a partner with the firm, responded, “We wouldn’t recommend that you pass a rule, pass a law, that favors one party over another.”  When asked again in a different way, he stated, “We wouldn’t recommend that.” (A link to the recording of that discussion can be accessed here).

Read more here.

Season’s first snow is Chicago’s largest November snowfall in 120 years – 2015

The season’s first snowfall dropped as much as 17 inches across Chicago’s northern suburbs, and the total of 11.2 inches at O’Hare International Airport made it the largest November snowfall in 120 years.

Read more from the Chicago Tribune 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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Audio recordings from the September 26th Village Board of Trustees regular monthly meeting are available for review on the Village website.  To access the menu of edited recordings by agenda topic, click here.

One resident made remarks during public comment regarding the condition of a property at the corner of Braeburn and Spring Creek Roads, which can be heard here.

The board then spent roughly twenty minutes reviewing the minutes from their prior meeting.  Most of the discussion related to how detailed the minutes should be, since audio recordings are kept in perpetuity as backup for details of what transpired in any given meeting, but it seems some (or one board member) prefers their statements be as detailed as possible in the minutes as can be heard here.

Moving on to Finance and approval of the monthly bills, discussion revealed legal and managerial expenses related to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests were high again.  Oakwood Farm, LLC and Barrington Hills Farm contributed to the increased expenditures again last month coming in well over $9,000.

Additionally, a former member of the board also added to the legal financial burden with his requests for Open Meetings Act (OMA) investigations filed with the Illinois Attorney General’s office.  When the response to his first request did not meet with his satisfaction, he apparently filed an appeal, further adding to our legal expenses.

Citing this and other instances, attorney Patrick Bond was then asked by Trustee Konicek at what point the requestor might be required to pay for the expense rather than the taxpayer being saddled with the outlay.  Konicek’s questions and Bond’s responses can be heard here.

Later in the meeting the board took up a recommendation for amended codes from the Heritage & Environs Committee (HEC) pertaining to how trash must be contained in their “Refuse Lid Ordinance (RLO).”  Their recommendation would require all refuse to be placed in containers with hinged lids. Failure to comply will result in a fine of $50.

The intention of the HEC proposal was to alleviate trash being strewn along Village roads when plastic garbage bags either fail or animals tear into them before pickup.  A copy of their proposal can be viewed here.

Trustee Gohl motioned to approve the proposed HEC ordinance.  When asked how it would be enforced, Gohl stated, “Well, you have obviously the trash Nazi running up and down the road,” as can be heard here.

After some discussion, board members decided to survey residents prior to moving forward, and they tabled the proposal to a later meeting.  The recording of the full discussion of the HEC proposal can be heard here.

The next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for October 24th.

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Audio recordings from the August 29th Village Board of Trustees meeting have been posted to the Village website.  To access the menu of edited recordings by agenda topic, click here.

Three residents made public comments at the beginning of the meeting.  The comments ranged from a complaint regarding an abandoned home at Braeburn and Spring Creek Roads (heard here), to the Village Tree Ordinance (heard here), and the upcoming hearing on the environmental study of the Longmeadow Parkway project (heard here).

Alice Runvik was then presented an award for 25 years of service to the Barrington Hills Police Department, and the presentation can be heard here.  Alice was unable to attend the previous month’s meeting when awards were presented, and we congratulate her on her milestone of service to our community.

Unfortunately, after this high note of recognition and applause, Trustee Mike Harrington found it necessary to interrupt the proceedings with a point of order regarding the evening’s agenda.  It seems he and Trustee Gohl (or more likely their handlers outside of the boardroom) had requested the agenda to include, “a discussion and vote on whether we should have a public hearing to consider removing Jan Goss from the ZBA.”  He cited a petition including only 102 signatures as the basis for their request.

In the thirteen-minute discussion that ensued, Harrington’s best efforts to create more of the political theater residents are weary of fell flat.

President McLaughlin had asked Gohl (who made the first request) if he had contacted the chairman of the Zoning Board to discuss the matter, and Gohl had not.  McLaughlin explained that it is the Zoning Board chairman’s position to bring forth any issues, and since neither Gohl nor Harrington had afforded the chair the courtesy of input, rather than usurp the chair’s authority, McLaughlin decided not to place the matter on the agenda.

Attorney Patrick Bond then explained it is within the president’s authority to set the agendas of the Board of Trustee meetings per our Village Code, but he also told Harrington he could make a motion to discuss, but not vote on, the matter if he wished.  Harrington declined take advantage of this opportunity for discussion (since Gohl was absent from yet another meeting), instead choosing to protest and waste taxpayer’s money by demanding a written opinion from Bond.

What was not discussed is the fact that Village employee personnel matters are never discussed in public session.  They are always conducted in executive session.  Yet Harrington and Gohl did not want to afford a private citizen the same courtesy, clearly looking to grill a volunteer resident in their proposed public forum.  We find this disgraceful and ill-considered —  no matter whose idea it was.

The recording of this discussion can be heard here, and for the record, we’re told Mr. Goss was in attendance at the meeting.  It’s unknown if any political “handlers” made an appearance, however, but we doubt it.

When the business before the board resumed, the meeting became more productive.

The Village Treasurer reported during the finance report that expenditures are below budget.  She also reported that building permit revenue is “way up” from last year, perhaps indicating the slow housing economy that has dogged Barrington Hills is finally showing some promise.

On the downside, however, she stated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) expenses are “way over” budget for this year, to the tune of 140%, including $23,000 for the prior month alone in legal fees. 

When asked for some explanation during the review of the bills for the expense increase, Patrick Bond reported, “We have received a number of FOIA’s and voluminous requests from Barrington Hills Farm, ah, J.R. Davis was the requestor (see “Barrington Hills Farm”) and also from, ah, Dr. LeCompte (Oakwood Farm).”  That recording can be heard here.

Later in the meeting, the board approved amended and restated code related to the Tree Preservation Ordinance as proposed by the Plan Commission after nearly a year’s worth of work by that body.  The new code has not yet been posted to the Village website, but those interested can check back at a later date by accessing this link.

During the Administration report, trustees were informed that the necessary updates to Village Hall, such as paint, carpeting and bringing bathrooms up to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards is estimated to cost approximately $68,000.  After some discussion, the board voted to begin “refreshing” the interior of Village Hall.

The next meeting of the Village Board is scheduled for September 26th.

Editor’s Note:  This review of these recordings marks the 2,000th article published in the Barrington Hills Observer.  We would like to express our thanks to our readers for their continued support, and look forward to providing timely news services to the residents of Barrington Hills in the future.

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