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Village officials review 2013, discuss next steps

BARRINGTON – Barrington Village President Karen Darch highlighted the past year's accomplishments in her State of the Village report Monday evening while trustees approved an estimated $192,685 Metra station improvement project.

The village's Numbers Report, delivered by Darch, reviewed 2013 as a year of change.

Darch said countless hours were spent analyzing best alternatives for the Route 14 grade separation project at the Canadian National Railway – "a project which will enhance the safety, emergency access and traffic flow for our village and region when ultimately completed."

Another "separation" project has involved the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District.

Darch said the village chose not to fight the district's decision to terminate a shared services contract with the village-run Barrington Fire Department because the downsizing of the village service has lead to "excellent response times and a more sustainable financial model – particularly in terms of long-term pension liability."

Darch said the village has seen a 43 percent reduction in liability costs and workers compensation premiums for 2014 with the separation from the district – the village's lowest cost in 20 years.

While addressing a comment from a village citizen that urged trustees to re-think Hough and Main Street development plans under the realities of current economy, Darch said the commercial project will indeed proceed this year as the village is "sound financially and growing."

Nearly 20 new businesses joined the village in 2013, she said.

Darch also addressed village efforts at the state level.

"In order to keep our financial house in order, we have to concern ourselves with more than our own village departments," Darch said.

Darch said reform – or state-mandated, but locally-funded pension systems – and changes in other state mandates, which interfere with the village's ability to manage its resources, are once again priorities this year.

Despite tough economic times in the past few years, Barrington is very much alive, Darch said.

"We have our village government challenges, like mandates from the state, expenses increasing faster than inflation and revenues, increasing train traffic, costs due to excessive snow and rain; or Emerald Ash Borer tree destruction, but we are determined to bring our best efforts to meet them and continue to accentuate the very many wonderful attributes of our corner of the world."

The Barrington Metra station improvement project, expected to be complete by mid-June, will feature stamped colored concrete and six planters, serviced by two local garden clubs.

Barrington Public Works Director Mark Werksman said the plan is to remove the station's brick paver elements to decrease future maintenance costs. Trustees have approved Alliance Contractors, Inc. to carry out the project. Werksman said construction will begin mid-April, depending on weather.

If you go

The next Barrington village board meeting will be held April 14 at 8 p.m. at the village hall, 200 S. Hough Street, Barrington. Visit for information.

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