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updated: 1/12/2012 11:56 PM

South Barrington to stay in council

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South Barrington officials Thursday elected to remain a member of the Barrington Area Council of Governments after being serenaded with significant budget cuts agreed to by the other eight members.

"I think we've got a good compromise," South Barrington Village President Frank Munao said. "I see this whole next year as a trial."

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But in promising the use of Barrington Hills village hall to help the council eliminate its current rent and utility costs, Barrington Hills Village President Robert Abboud drew the ire of at least one of his own trustees.

Barrington Hills Trustee Harold "Skip" Gianopulos said he learned about the offer only Wednesday morning and was disappointed that Abboud had made such a commitment before the vote of his board, which is still pending.

"President Abboud did send a memo to the trustees indicating that this would be an agenda item and that we would be voting on a resolution to effect such a decision," Gianopulos said. "I do not know how the board will vote on this, but perhaps President Abboud does."

Gianopulos suggested that if the Barrington Area Council of Governments does use space at village hall, it should at least pay the village something for it.

Abboud said the group has done as much for his village in the past by defending its five-acre zoning against developers' interests as what he is now proposing the village to do for the group.

Furthermore, as the Barrington Area Council of Governments is partly funded by Barrington Hills, charging rent would just be charging oneself, he added.

Abboud said he offered three rooms at village hall previously used for storage of paper records that have been freed up by digitizing the information.

The council's other members include the villages of Barrington, Deer Park, Lake Barrington, North Barrington and Tower Lakes and Barrington and Cuba townships.

Last month, Munao proposed that his village withdraw from the council due to what he saw as its rising costs and broadening legislative platform.

But because of the financial cuts now being considered, South Barrington's annual dues are expected to drop from $36,000 to $23,000 and the whole organization's annual budget to decrease from $246,000 to $185,000.

Giving up council's current offices at 118 Applebee St. in Barrington would save about $20,000 of that total. More savings were found by dropping the position of global information system analyst from the payroll.

For 42 years, the council's general mission has been to find common ground among the Barrington-area communities on development issues and pursue a legislative agenda to protect it.

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