President Darch Delivers State of the Village
Village President Karen Darch presented her annual "State of the Village" address to the Village Board on March 18, 2019.
Here is a synopsis of her speech:
"In my State of the Village, I discussed some of the Village’s accomplishments from 2018 and also outlined some of the challenges that we face in the coming years.
As we began work on our 2020 Comprehensive Plan this year, we mailed a survey to 4,505 Village households and received 1,111 responses (a 25% return rate). From this information we learned and confirmed some important information.
Not surprisingly, traffic congestion is the #1 issue needing attention in Barrington, while economic redevelopment is a close second. On the traffic front, we continue to work on funding for the Route 14 underpass and are currently awaiting the results of four pending grants. However, we have recently learned that Canadian National is planning to double-track an additional four-plus miles of railroad between Elgin and Hoffman Estates, just south of Barrington. More significantly, CN has stated that this will bring about an additional 9 trains per day on our tracks by 2020 – a 50% increase in trains through Barrington by next year. This makes achieving the underpass even more critical.
On that note, I also discussed the Lake Zurich Road realignment project. As you may remember, the latest proposal to re-route Lake Zurich Road to the light at Berry Road for community safety reasons was rejected by the Barrington Area Library a year ago. However, it is important to understand that once funding is achieved for the underpass, the realignment of Lake Zurich Road will need to be revisited again. Recently, there has been misinformation in the community about this project, and I would encourage all of you to go to our web site at www.barrington-il.gov to learn the facts.
While we are pleased with all of the accomplishments of the past year, as the Village Corporate Authorities we must also recognize and address the challenges we have in 2019 and beyond.
Public safety pensions are one of the top issues of concern. As you are likely aware, costs of these defined-benefit pensions are ever-increasing. This results in the crowding out of other Village services, such as our Road Maintenance Program. One option on the table for reducing pension costs is consolidation. Currently in the state of Illinois, there are 650 individual pension plans. We have two in Barrington (police and fire). By consolidating these programs, we can achieve higher returns and more administrative efficiency that will help lower costs. I am committed to working on this type of solution.
In my speech I also discussed Barrington’s focus on being “green.” You may not know that in the 1980s, the Village of Barrington was one of the first in the country to institute multi-material curbside recycling program. For the past 30 years, we have been very active in many environmental programs and have worked with numerous local organizations on wetland restoration, Flint Creek projects, and more.
But even with all that is done or underway, constantly there are new ideas, technologies and information on how to continue to improve our environment. To assist in considering the new ideas and to support environmental entities in our community, I have recommended the establishment of a new Village Environmental Advisory Committee that will help foster the care and concern of our local environment.
And finally, I concluded my State of the Village address by recognizing numerous long-time Village employees who have or will be retiring this year. 16-year Barrington Trustee Jim Daluga will be going off the Village Board in May. Our Village Manager and former Police Chief, Jeff Lawler, is retiring this spring, as is our Human Resources Director, Colleen Nigg. Our Economic Development Director, Peggy Blanchard, also recently retired, as did our Public Works Director, Mark Werksman. In addition, we have several other long-time employees retiring this year, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of these individuals for their many, many years of service to the Village of Barrington. We are in their debt."