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updated: 6/30/2014 11:58 PM

Barrington home rule committee discusses money at first meeting

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The committee of Barrington residents tasked with exploring whether it would be in the village's interest to pursue becoming a home-rule community had their first meeting Monday night.

The ad hoc committee has just five weeks to present the board with its findings because the board must vote on whether to add the referendum to the November ballot by August 18.

Committee co-chair Ruth Schlossberg said she believes the group of volunteers can accomplish their task in that time because of the support they've received from village staff. The staff provided the committee with a large document that delves into what would change in the village if residents decided to adopt home rule.

"We're not exactly starting at the beginning," Schlossberg said. "The staff report is pretty darn exhaustive."

At the meeting, Schlossberg proposed instead of drafting their own report, the committee make changes to the staff's document as they saw fit.

One area of the document that received attention at the committee's first meeting was about how the village's finances would be affected should they adopt home rule.

"In my experience the number one reason home rule fails is because people think it leads to increases in their taxes," Schlossberg, who works as a municipal lawyer, said.

"I don't think that we've heard from the village or in the material that we've seen that this is about raising taxes."

Village boards in home-rule communities have the power to impose some taxes without seeking voter approval.

Committeeman Gil Reich said the committee might want to consider recommending the formation of a volunteer home-rule oversight committee who can monitor whether or not they feel home rule is working for Barrington in the event that voters approve.

Schlossberg said Reich's idea was worth looking into, but added even without such a committee voters always have a way of telling the board they don't think that home rule is working -- by voting them out of office.

No members of the public attended Monday night's public meeting, possibly because of the heavy rain. The committee's next meeting is 7:30 p.m. Monday at the village hall.

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