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updated: 1/23/2012 10:02 PM

Barrington Hills may house area council

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Most Barrington Hills trustees Monday ultimately supported Village President Robert Abboud's commitment of office space at village hall to cut rental costs for the Barrington Area Council of Governments, despite earlier criticism that he'd made a promise without their vote.

Only Trustee Harold "Skip" Gianopulos voted against preparation of a two-year lease agreement to be approved Feb. 24. But Trustee Elaine Ramesh initially favored a $5,000 break in BACOG dues as well in exchange for the village housing the council.

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Last month, South Barrington Village President Frank Munao gave BACOG an ultimatum to find a way of cutting its annual costs -- and members' dues -- or he would propose withdrawal from the council to his own trustees.

And Munao expected an answer by Jan. 12.

That urgency -- and Abboud's belief in keeping the nine-member council intact -- were why he said he had to tell South Barrington something before his own board's meeting on Monday.

But Abboud said he never forgot that his board's agreement was essential to making good on the agreement with South Barrington.

Earlier this month, Gianopulos said he was surprised at hearing Abboud's offer to BACOG before the matter was even brought up at a village board meeting.

"I am disappointed with our village president, Robert Abboud, who apparently believes he has the unilateral authority to commit the village of Barrington Hills to a multi-year financial commitment such as this one," Gianopulos then said.

Responding to Gianopolus and Ramesh's criticisms, Abboud said that as a dues-paying member of BACOG, to charge the organization rent would just be charging oneself.

Furthermore, he felt this temporary arrangement was just returning the favor for when BACOG went to bat for the village in Springfield and successfully defended its five-acre residential zoning.

Allowing BACOG to move out of its rented offices in downtown Barrington next year is expected to save the organization $20,000 per year.

Barrington Hills has the space to accommodate BACOG because three rooms at village hall perviously used to store paper records have been freed up by digitizing the information, Abboud said.

Other BACOG members include Barrington, Deer Park, Lake Barrington, North Barrington, Tower Lakes and Barrington and Cuba townships.

For 42 years, the council's mission has been to find common ground on local development issues and pursue a legislative agenda in Springfield that's specific to the Barrington area.

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