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posted: 2/24/2012 5:30 AM

Barrington Hills agrees to house BACOG

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The Barrington Hills village board voted 6-1 this week in favor of a $1 per year lease for the Barrington Area Council of Governments to move its offices into village hall.

The nine-member BACOG board is expected to accept the lease at its meeting next Tuesday.

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The move from its current offices in downtown Barrington is estimated to save the council about $20,000 per year in rent and utilities.

Barrington Hills' two-year offer to house the organization was made in an effort to retain South Barrington as a member. Village President Frank Munao had recommended South Barrington withdraw from BACOG unless its dues were significantly lowered.

Last month Munao said he was satisfied for the time being with the estimated reduction in South Barrington's dues from $36,000 to $23,000 per year made possible by BACOG's move.

Barrington Hills Trustee Harold "Skip" Gianopulos cast the sole dissenting vote on the lease.

"I view village hall as an asset of the residents and we're letting another entity use it free of charge," Gianopulos said. "It'll save other municipalities more than it'll save us."

But Barrington Hills Village President Robert Abboud argues that his village has strongly benefitted in the past from BACOG's fighting on behalf of its unusual 5-acre-minimum residential zoning.

For 42 years, BACOG'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.

BACOG is expected to participate in the opposition to a new shopping center proposal in unincorporated Lake County, between North Barrington and Hawthorn Woods.

That's exactly the kind of fight BACOG should be involved in, Gianopulos said.

But he agrees with Munao that BACOG's rising costs have been caused in part by its duplication of lobbying efforts with other intergovernmental councils that have greater resources and broader jurisdiction.

BACOG's move to Barrington Hills is expected to happen July 1, the council's Executive Director Janet Agnoletti said.

Though the organization will continue to buy its own office supplies, it will pay Barrington Hills $35 a month for miscellaneous expenses such as the use of its copier. BACOG's own copier won't fit in the new office and will be kept in storage, Agnoletti said.

The other members of BACOG are Barrington, Deer Park, Lake Barrington, North Barrington, Tower Lakes and Barrington and Cuba townships.

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