Robert M. Zubak: 2021 candidate for Barrington Hills village board
Six candidates for three seats
City: Barrington Hills
Civic involvement: Current village trustee
Q: How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state and federal authorities?
A: As a village trustee I believe it is important to show leadership by example and giving a voice to the residents. Residents want to see government officials adhering to the same rules and regulations they are subject to. However, it is important to understand issues residents may have with any regulations and to be flexible enough to change regulations when they don't make sense. I think the pandemic has shown that sometimes an individual's rights may need to be secondary for the greater good of keeping everybody healthy.
Q: Did your town continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A: I believe the village board could have done a better job of adhering to some of the state's guidelines during the pandemic. Specifically, the board should have continued with virtual meetings for a longer period. Live meetings allowed only limited resident participation by limiting the number of people in Village Hall and having an inadequate audio system to effectively handle the meetings In addition, social distancing was not effectively handled in some board meetings which also kept residents from participating.
Q: In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?
A: With any public health crisis, getting information out to residents in a safe and informative way is critical. As discussed above, a more effective system to handle virtual meetings is needed so residents can participate in meetings. The village website could also be more effective in the future in disseminating information to residents. The most important guideline should be village officials need to show leadership by following medical and state guidelines during these periods.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: The village board of Barrington Hills has done an excellent job of cutting expenses and taxes over the past seven years. The village budget and tax levy are down over 20% during this period while most village services have been maintained and some enhanced. But our local government must continue to look for ways to do things more efficiently and to follow our mission of providing the services residents desire. If there are services residents don't want or need they should be eliminated.
Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project you must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what infrastructure project can be put on the back burner?
A: In Barrington Hills a large part of the annual budget is road maintenance and replacement. This board has done an excellent job with hiring an experienced engineering group which has reduced costs by creating a more effective bidding process the annual roadwork needed in the village. In addition, this firm has tested and recommended a new road surfacing procedure which is expected to improve the life expectancy of new roads by two to three times. This is a very important infrastructure change for the village which can drastically reduce costs and taxes in the future.
Q: Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
A: The current business base in Barrington is very limited with no bars or restaurants. The village does not have any current plans to restrict these businesses.
Q: Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board/council has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A: I fully agree with the Board's stance on no recreational marijuana sales in Barrington Hills. More importantly it is the position we believe most want in our village.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: I believe live video recording of some village meetings would be better for the community. It would improve residents involvement in village matters and improve overall transparency. This idea has been discussed several years ago, but the pandemic and lower costs make it a better idea today.