North Barrington village president in first contested election for top seat
North Barrington Village President Albert Pino is looking to keep his seat in his first contested election for the town's top position.
Pino, an attorney who's been village president since 2011, will face Eleanor Sweet McDonnell in the April 2 election. Sweet McDonnell, who made an unsuccessful bid for the Lake County Board last fall, has been a longtime member of North Barrington's fire and plan commissions.
North Barrington's last contested village president race was in 2007, when Bruce Sauer defeated Carolyn Boyle to win his second 4-year term. Sauer decided against seeking a third term, which opened the door for Pino to run unopposed in 2011 and 2015.
Pino and Sweet McDonnell participated in a joint Daily Herald Editorial Board endorsement interview. North Barrington's budget was among the issues that arose during the discussion.
Sweet McDonnell said she's concerned about the village's "unbalanced budget" and added that would not continue if she became village president. She said audits show budget deficits of $614,138 in 2018 and $599,680 in 2017.
"We cannot spend what we're not earning, OK?" Sweet McDonnell said. "And I personally don't think this is fiscally responsible."
However, Pino said how the budget appears and what's spent are not the same.
"We budget it," said Pino, who was a North Barrington village trustee for six years before becoming the top elected official. "And then when we send out bids for our roads, for instance, we may budget it for ($450,000), but we may get the roads done for ($395,000). We may have cost savings in other areas, too."
Pino added that North Barrington's budget reserves have grown to about $3 million.
If elected, Sweet McDonnell said, she'd have a management style that encourages empowerment and collaboration. Pino said he's led with a low-key, business-style approach that's allowed the village to address matters in a logical and expeditious manner.