Bryan C. Croll: Candidate profile
Name: Bryan C. Croll
City: Barrington Hills
Office sought: Trustee
Age (on election day): 47
Family: Wife, 3 children
Education: University of Virginia B.A. ('93), Georgetown University M.B.A. ('98)
Civic involvement: President, Barrington Area Conservation Trust
Previous elected offices held: Trustee (1 term)
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected? Yes, 2015
What are the most important issues facing your community and how do you intend to address them?
Barrington Hills' government is lean, running well, and providing high levels of service. Over my last four budget years as Finance Committee Chair, I've reduced the property tax levy by 21%, and cut spending by 18%. However, other taxing bodies still keep spending more every year, and that's increasing property taxes for our residents. In turn, that's hurting real estate values, and reducing our area's attractiveness to potential new residents. The Village is doing its part by lowering its taxes. Other taxing bodies need to learn from us, tighten their belts, and find ways to provide equal or better services for less money. Even while spending less, Barrington Hills has managed to pave more roads, improve upon its already excellent police, and implement a number of new technology systems that help our residents. We're proof that it is possible to do more with less.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A number of things make me the best candidate. I grew up in Barrington Hills. I love the area and want it to thrive. With a 20-year career in finance, real estate, and investments, I bring a business perspective to the job, and most residents appreciate that. I've proved as Finance Committee Chair that I can effectively manage the budget. We've saved very significant taxpayer money while enhancing services and building for the future. In addition, my background in environmental science, experience as a large landowner, and role as President of the Barrington Area Conservation Trust attest that I will be a sensitive steward of this beautiful area we call home. I combine that respect for the land with respect for our area's landowners, which is a necessary combination in this sprawling village of large farms and estates. We have something special here in Barrington Hills and we all want to keep it that way.
Describe your leadership style and explain how you think that will be effective in producing actions and decisions with your village board.
As a trustee it's important to educate yourself, listen to residents, and have an informed opinion while keeping an open mind. I take a detailed and analytical approach to questions. I evaluate scenarios, consider alternatives, and try to promote my positions with facts and logic. I'm not afraid to speak up to make sure we explore issues thoroughly. It is our job as trustees to vet the proposals that come before us, and that means questioning assumptions and considering impacts. In all cases, we need to look at how our decisions will affect our future as a village. I think residents approve of my approach. People trust me to represent them well, and I take that responsibility seriously.
How would you describe the condition of your community's budget, and what are the most important specific actions the town should take to assure providing the level of services people want?
Barrington Hills leads the way in sound municipal budgeting. As of this year we will have no debt. We've reduced the property tax levy by 21% over 4 years, and spending by 18% over the last 3 years (2019 isn't complete yet), and each year I have been in office, actual spending has been under budget. For instance, in 2018, we were roughly $704,000, or 9% under budget, mostly due to lower than anticipated legal expenses. Planned spending in the recently completed 2019 budget is, for the first time in my tenure, anticipated to be slightly higher than the year before by approximately $128,000. Higher salaries, pension contributions, and insurance expenses somewhat outweighed the spending cuts we made. Nevertheless, for the fifth straight year, the 2019 property tax levy will be lower than it was the year before, and Barrington Hills residents will pay less in taxes. As Finance Committee Chair, I'm proud of that accomplishment.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
An interesting idea being discussed is whether for security we should install cameras at all roads entering the Village. Our police gain a powerful tool to investigate crime, while the presence of cameras helps deter criminals. I still have concerns about how the footage could be used, privacy issues, and retention periods. However, if those questions can be satisfactorily answered, this system could improve public safety and security for our residents. This is one example of how Trustees deal with complex issues having potentially wide-ranging ramifications. It's important to have someone you can trust making those tough decisions.