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updated: 4/5/2011 10:07 PM

Incumbent Brown wins Geneva 1st Ward showdown

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  • Charles Brown

      Charles Brown

  • Dean Kilburg

      Dean Kilburg

 
 

A veteran of the Geneva City Council has earned another term as 1st Ward Alderman, and a former Geneva School Board president will join the council as a 3rd Ward Alderman.

Charles Brown, a 1st Ward alderman in Geneva for 21 years, retained his seat by receiving 287 votes Tuesday night in topping his challengers Esther Barclay with 159 votes and Zachary Ploppert with 75 votes, according to unofficial totals.

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In the 3rd Ward, former school board president Dean Kilburg captured 249 votes to top challenger Becky Hruby with 131 votes.

During the campaign, Brown emphasized his attention to detail, particularly as it related to city finances and decisions that raised fees or taxes for residents, as being vital while the city still dealt with a struggling economy.

His vote against raising the city's water and sewer fees resonated with voters, especially when he proposed a system in which cost should be based on the previous year.

"There are a lot of good people on the council, and I will try my best to contribute and respond to any concerns or suggestions from my constituents," Brown said. "It is kind of sad that two of us had to lose because Esther and Zach are really good people, and it shows that Geneva is full of good people."

Barclay, a Geneva Library Board president and active member of the community, stressed her past leadership skills during the campaign, while Ploppert, a 20-year-old Northern Illinois University student, represented a younger voice and perspective on city affairs.

Both Kilburg and Hruby were vying for the aldermanic seat being vacated by Ray Pawlak, who chose not to seek re-election.

Kilburg's vast experience in public offices and in dealing with state, county and local officials was a key in his campaign against Hruby, a newcomer to seeking public office.

"You step aside (from public office) for awhile and you kind of go through withdrawal, but it gives you a chance to get reinvigorated," Kilburg said. "The next two years are not going to be any easier than the last two for the city and we can't bury our heads in the sand. We have to remain optimistic and work together as a team."

Kilburg praised Hruby for her positive campaign and her passion for Geneva, saying he hopes she stays involved in the community in the coming years.

Hruby was encouraged by 3rd Ward residents to run for alderman after displaying good leadership and communication skills in getting the city to fix a crumbling alley on Manchester Course.

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