Frequently Asked Questions about Dick Barr

DSC_6152 - Smaller

My name is Dick Barr and I live with my beautiful wife and four fantastic kids, ages five through twenty. My wife, Holly, is a rock star. She has stayed home to care for our kids and has instilled within them such a great sense of love, manners and respect. Our youngest, Jonny, has been a gift from God. Diagnosed autistic at the age of one, he has taught our entire family new levels of love, joy, patience, empathy and understanding. Our family owes tremendous gratitude to SEDOL and School District 41 for the amazing work they have done to improve his social and academic abilities.

I own a Real Estate Brokerage in Lake County, Licensed REALTOR

  • Round Lake Beach Planning and Zoning Commissioner
  • Round Lake Beach Police Foundation Board Director
  • Member of Lindenhurst-Lake Villa and Round Lake Area Chambers of Commerce
  • I started and run a community group that now consists of over 600 active community members who work to promote stronger community, beautification projects, local charitable causes, government involvement and increasing communication.
  • Member of the Government & Political Issues Committees for both the NS/Barrington REALTOR Board and the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS.
  • Junior Board of Directors for the Save A Star Drug Awareness Foundation.
  • County Board Member Tom Weber,
  • Mayor Richard Hill,
  • Lake Villa Township Supervisor Dan Venturi,
  • State Representative Robert Churchill,
  • Senator Suzy Schmidt,
  • William and Betty Burns,
  • Tom Crichton,
  • Trustee Scott Nickles,
  • Mainstreet Organization of Realtors Government Affairs Committee Lake,
  • Republican Assembly of Lake County

I am not a career politician. I’m a family man, community member and business owner, in that order.  I am running for this, my first, office to make positive changes that will affect my family and neighbors.It used to be my goal to raise my family, keep our children close to us when they started their careers, then retire and relish in the grand kid visits.I no longer see it foreseeable to retire in Illinois at our current trajectory, and the career opportunities for young professionals have diminished.This is my opportunity to raise awareness and fix that.

I do not believe that Governments should compete with business.  I believe business needs to be able to compete on an even playing field, and the market should drive which businesses succeed and which ones fail.

That said, the Township’s move is not without precedent.  We have seen Park Districts and Forest Preserves acquire land for preservation, conservation, or commercial reasons time and time again. There was a time, even as recently as 2008 when the overwhelming majority of Lake County residents voted in favor of the acquisition of $189 Million dollars worth of real estate for preservation.

Since Lake Villa does not have a Park District, the Township has primarily focused on how to provide its residents with access to recreational amenities for low average costs.

That said, we are living in a very different time than 2008. Unemployment and underemployment in our area is still an issue, wages are still down, property and income taxes are up.  The overwhelming majority of residents who I have spoken with have told me they do not want our governments spending any more new money until we have fixed what is wrong with our local economies and our state economies.

What happened at the Lake Villa Township building this past Summer was a beautiful thing. It was the single biggest example of democracy in action that I have seen in a long time. Almost a thousand residents came out, stood in long lines to cast their vote for what they wanted to happen.

The overwhelming majority of residents (I believe by a margin of 700 – 100) voted against the acquisition.

As a candidate for office, this is exactly what I want to see happen at every level of Government, not just the body that represents about $100 of your annual property tax bill, but on all of the taxing bodies.

The day of the vote, I stood in line with all of you to cast my vote and to speak my peace. I started in line standing on Route 59, and it took me about an hour to get my vote cast.

Here is the gist of my words that day while I addressed the crowd:

Congratulations to everyone who cares enough about our community to come here and share your feelings. This is one of the most important things you can do as a member of our community. I am proud to see so many step away from your every day lives to come and be a part of the process. The reality is, however, this is just one small piece of the pie. The Township represents about 1% of your tax bill. For most of you, it represents less that $100 per year, in exchange, our area gets some pretty nice amenities, especially when compared to a Park District that typically represents between $500-700 of their residents’ tax bills. In 2016, the Lake Villa School District School Board (schools represents about 65% of our tax bills) was trying to use non referendum bonds to obtain $4,000,000 to make the Middle School Lunch Room a little nicer. At that meeting I was one of only about three community members present to protest the action.

Think about that for a bit.  Township represents 1% of your tax bill for about $100/year wants to spend $750,000 and that draws almost one thousand residents… The School Districts represent about 65% of our tax bills for about $6,000/year and wants to spend $4,000,000 and that draws three residents.

I want our residents to use that same passion that they used to stop the golf course acquisition on every level of Government.  I want to be the County Board Member who becomes famous for involving the public. I want the public’s voice to be loud and clear not just to County, but to all of the taxing bodies and to our Representatives and Senators in Springfield.

There’s only ONE WAY to fix our mess in Illinois, and this is for the public to stand up and DEMAND our politicians to STOP THE SPENDING, FIX THE PENSIONS, AND FUND OUR SCHOOLS PROPERLY!

To quote Margaret Meade: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. It is all that ever has.”

As the father of 2 daughters, I am sensitive to this. Harassment of any kind has no place in society, especially sexual harassment.The recent “Me Too” campaign, while controversial to some, has hopefully shined a light on the issue for all, both the victims who should understand it’s OK to say something, and the perpetrators who should understand when you put someone in a compromising position you will always be outed.In a time where sexual harassment is being better defined, I believe in including harassment education in our employee training programs.

When I first decided to run for this office, I did not know it was a paid position.  I thought it was a stipend role. However, after painstakingly reviewing the budgets and attending all of the board meetings, I have to say the County Board is responsible for over 2,700 employees and a budget just over half a Billion dollars. This is a real job with huge responsibility.It is for that reason that I believe a modest salary should be attached to incentivize quality professionals to take time from their families and to replace lost income from their main job.Without a financial incentive, how can we expect quality candidates to give up some of their primary income to come serve in a role with so much responsibility?That said, I do not believe the salary should be so high as to incentivize anyone to make a career out of it.

I will not support any increases in salary for County Board.

In 2008, the voters of Lake County gave the Forest Preserve a mandate through referendum to preserve $189 million of forest land.

This was great for the commerce rich communities in Southern Lake County who are just a short drive away from some of the most beautiful forest land in the midwest.  However, it has created large challenges for the less commercial Northern communities who have seen millions of dollars of real estate fall off the tax rolls.

My opinion on this matter does not matter, the question for the residents of Lake County is not ‘Do you want new amenities?’ it should be ‘Are you willing to pay for new amenities?’

So far, the answer I am getting as I walk from door to door is a resounding ‘NO, we can not afford anymore property taxes’.

State law gives the County authority to eliminate taxing bodies that it is the sole appointing body for. Of Lake County’s 230 units of Government, that only includes 27 out of the 230 bodies. Some of those 27 haven’t levied taxes in years.

The County has already begun evaluating which of the bodies make the most sense to either eliminate or consolidate.

I do believe it is very important to identify redundancies in our system and looking for ways to eliminate unnecessary duplication.

However, I do not believe in a slash and burn strategy.  The effectiveness, cost savings potential  and accountability factor needs to be weighed.

The taxing bodies closest to us on the pyramid are where we, the residents, have the most direct control.  We need to be mindful of eliminating bodies where we have a lot of oversight and control of and have them be hidden within a $512 Million budget.

Transparency, accountability, cost and control must all be evaluated prior to any move to consolidate or eliminate.

As a strong fiscal conservative, I have to ask two questions:

  1. What is wrong with our current library?
  2. If the reason for building a new library has to do with the wetlands that surround the building and the inability to expand, WHY was that location chosen in the first place?

I think our current library is a beautiful facility, with a great deal of amenities easily accessible by the public. I STRONGLY support our library, and I want it to be a centerpiece of the community, BUT I think it already is a centerpiece.

I have never heard one single person say “I wish we had a better library.”

Communities and services grow during economic booms. We should not be spending tens of millions of dollars to build new buildings while salaries are barely increasing and those nominal increases are being more than offset by rises in property taxes and income taxes.

The number one complaint I get from residents as I walk door to door is the skyrocketing property taxes we pay, here in Lake County. (View our write up on Property Taxes)

Eight, Ten or twelve thousand dollar tax bills on modest homes is outrageous.

We can no longer allow our Governments to ignore the detrimental effects that their out of control spending policies are causing.

Real Estate ownership is the backbone to many of our retirement plans. How can we have faith in our retirement plans, when it is uncertain if we will ever be able to sell our homes because the taxes have grown so high, so fast? How can we afford to even live in our homes in retirement when the cost of taxes is equal or greater than a mortgage payment.

People used to dream for the day they made their last mortgage payment… but in Illinois, that day never comes because the mortgage payment continues as property taxes.

I see my role in County Government as one to not only hold the line on spending and finding areas to reduce, but as importantly to be your voice with all of the taxing bodies, especially with our state senators and representatives to demand something be done with pensions and a school funding formula that places ALL of the school funding on the backs of only the property tax payers.

Today’s leaders don’t inspire me like past leaders do. Too much division in the world today. Ronald Reagan is my most recent inspiration.

Never be afraid to roll up your sleeves and get to work to accomplish something. No work is beneath you.

If I eliminated a mistake from my life I would lose the important lessons I learned from it. I wouldn’t accept a do-over on anything.

Math. Math is the universal constant. When you understand math and the logic behind it, everything else falls neatly into place.

The three most important things in life are your family, your community and your faith. When you have that, nothing else matters.