Robert Abboud: Candidate Profile

Barrington Hills Village President (4-year Term)

 
Updated 2/22/2013 6:10 PM

 

 

 

Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: Barrington Hills

Website: http://www.RobertAbboud.com

Office sought: Barrington Hills Village President (4-year Term)

Age: 56

Family: Patricia - Wife Lauren - step son / Navy Officer Patrick - step son / Chef

Occupation: Nuclear Engineer - Owner, RGA Labs, Inc.

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Education: ? Concentration in Neutron Transport Theory & Artificial Intelligence Methods for Numerical Analysis. Bachelor of Science Degree in Nuclear Engineering, B.S.N.E., Purdue University, May 1981. Concentration in fast reactor neutronics Sherwood Engine

Civic involvement: Executive member Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) water resources Serve on wide variety of councils of governments in the state of Illinois American Nuclear Society member American Meteorological Society member Recognized expert witness for utility weather and hurricanes issues in Florida and Illinois

Elected offices held: 2001 - 2005 Village Trustee - Village of Barrington Hills 2005 - 2009 Village President - Village of Barrington Hills 2005 - 2013 Village President - Village of Barrington Hills

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: NO

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Protection of the unique character and environment of the Village. Five acre zoning in Barrington Hills is a foundational premise for protecting our surface and well water inventories, protecting our air quality, preserving our wildlife habitats, minimizing traffic congestion, and maintaining the rural character of our village. By design, our zoning ordinances impose open space and specifically inhibit the use of engineered systems that increase the housing density that can be supported on a building site. To date, this foundational zoning principal has been effective in maintaining the high quality of our environment and rural atmosphere we enjoy today. I support the 5-acre zoning policy and will not bend on attempts to modify this ordinance for the purposes of development or convenience of developers. Barrington Hills has no obligation to developers and builders to provide opportunities for profit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Key Issue 2

Continue to improve public safety and Village infrastructure while maintaining the strongest financial position. The open space of our community and vast land size well more than 6 times the size of the Village of Barrington demands a sophisticated public safety and police department. Barrington Hills is presently ranked as one of the best police departments in the country, by CALEA. I will continue to support these efforts and continue to modernize our operations. The Village infrastructure in roads, snow management, communications systems, resident communications and information, water management and drinking water safety, environmental protection, and engineering and mapping, all demand continual upgrades and support. I will continue to focus efforts and resources to support our efforts in these areas and steward our regional leadership. Finally, all this effort must be supported on a solid financial position. The Village is currently considered one of the most financially sound in the state. Budgets and property tax levies have been very stable with no increases in property tax levies in the last 4 years and budget reductions. Our pension system is in excellent shape, with funds and funding sufficient to cover all possible demands present and future. I will continue to promote our sound financial position necessary to promote our Village character well into the future.

Key Issue 3

Support the Equestrian Community and Expand the Riding Trail System. The equestrian community and infrastructure in Barrington Hills is a positive asset to the environment of our village. The system also ties the many different areas of the village together, so that residents have a view of the village is bigger than their own local neighborhood. I fully support the activities of the equestrian community and will work to improve and expand the trail system.

Questions & Answers

Is the village taking appropriate steps to maintain its uniqueness in the region, or has such uniqueness become too costly to maintain?

The results of the last 8 years of our administration demonstrate that our unique environment can be maintained and enhanced while at the same time improving the financial condition of the Village. Property taxes have remained constant. We have taken a team building approach utilizing professionals from many different areas of expertise, combined with the enormous asset of our residents. This has created a cost effective and powerful work force that continues to address the many threats to the Village environment and character. Additionally, the Village works closely with surrounding communities, state representatives, state and federal agencies, and councils of government, including the Barrington Area Council of Governments, McHenry County Council of Governments, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, the Northwest Water Planning Alliance, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, to name just a few.

The village has debated various forms of regulation in recent years. Is there a general philosophy on regulation that should be applied toward all present and future concerns?

The Village of Barrington Hills has a long history of maintaining the rights of the individual homeowner. The population of our village has more than doubled during the last 30 years. With increasing population has also come an increased diversity of views and more property boundary disputes. Additionally, the wealth of the Village continues to increase. Combined with evolving building technology, residents are constructing larger and larger homes. The Village will continue to modernize its code to keep pace with these changes and ensure the actions of one resident do not infringe the peace and tranquility of another while maintaining the rural character of our Village as described in our Comprehensive Plan. Many other communities have dealt with this problem by decreasing the individual resident freedoms with more restrictive zoning laws, controlling many aspects of their living environment. Barrington Hills was founded, in part, on the basis that our village is a rural community, affording its residents the opportunity to live in a less restrictive environment. With our 5-acre (R1) zoning in place, I will work to ensure the rights of the individual resident.

What is your position on the horse-boarding controversy? Explain.

The so-calledhorse boarding controversy? is, for the most part, an artifact of a neighbor dispute between three households in our community. This issue has been over inflated for various agendas which are not helpful to the protection of the character of our Village. The fact is that horse boarding operations, as Home Occupations, have been operating in the Village since before the Village's founding in 1957. Today, there is the same number of barns in the Village as when I was first elected to the Board in 2001. Many barn owners regularly board as stable mates for their own horses and do so legally under the Home Occupation Ordinance and other building and zoning code requirements. Other than the very shrill voices of one particular neighbor dispute, the Village has maintained appropriate regulation and continues to support horse boarding as Home Occupation in the larger context of a rural equestrian community. As with all Village ordinances and regulation, I support continued dialog and review regarding our boarding regulations to address changes in technology and evolving animal husbandry practices.

In these tight economic times, municipal budgets have to be prioritized. Where, if anywhere, could the current budget be trimmed, and conversely, are there areas the budget does not give enough money to?

The village budget has remained very stable over the last 8 years. We continue to overfund our pension programs recognizing future changes in actuarial factors, and have continued to update our Village infrastructure and police operations. With a total budget of approximately $8.3 million and a stable property tax levy of approximately $6.5 million, the budget is right sized to address the many needs of the Village including the support operations for 101 miles of roadway and maintenance of 42 miles of roadway. The Village has not needed to raise property tax levy in the last four years. We have continued to rely on system efficiency upgrades and protecting revenues from non-property tax sources. This has provided an opportunity to maintain a very stable budget despite continued cost of living and product price inflation. This stability has created the platform upon which we have protected the Village character and maintained a very highly level of public safety.

What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?

The Village has been working to improve the cellular communications infrastructure and ultimately Internet connection for our residents. Over the last 4 years, we have been working with American Tower to install 23 small distributed antennas and associated fiber backbone. These antennas are virtually invisible to the public and blend in with our surrounding wildlife. This system was installed and recently turned on. The systems improves residential cellular calls, as well as our police officers and 911 emergency calls, and our engineering staff. Additionally, the Village installed 4 dark fiber strands in the backbone as part of the project. This infrastructure is planned for future use, ultimately allowing Village residents to connect to the Internet via ultra-high bandwidth fiber instead of Comcast cable or copper phone lines. This will provide our residents with unprecedented Internet bandwidth exceeding even the fastest cable speeds by more than 20x. The system will provide our residents with the fastest Internet bandwidth of any community in the nation. This effort is being done without cost to the Village through our negotiations with American Tower.