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Article posted: 12/27/2012 5:58 PM

Only 1st Ward contested in Geneva

By Susan Sarkauskas

The only contested Geneva City Council race in April is in the 1st Ward.

Zac Ploppert and Mike Bruno seek to replace Alderman Sam Hill, who did not seek re-election.

It is Ploppert's second run for the council; he lost in a three-way race in 2011 for Alderman Chuck Brown's seat.

Ploppert announced his candidacy in June.

He is a part-time schoolteacher and customer-service manager at Geneva Ace Hardware. He is on the city's strategic plan advisory commission. If elected, Ploppert, 22, would be at least two decades younger than any other alderman. When he announced his campaign, he said he thought people in their 20s and 30s were "underrepresented" on the council. He also wants the city to reconsider regulations on downtown businesses, saying some may be hurting downtown's economic health. In 2011, Ploppert told the city council that the $100 fine for underage drinking was no deterrent to the crime, and persuaded them to increase it to $250.

Bruno serves on the city's historic preservation commission. He owns an information technology consulting firm, and has lived in Geneva since 1979.

On his campaign website, mikebrunogeneva.com, Bruno states that he thinks that because of his service on the HPC, he is uniquely qualified to meet the needs of 1st Ward residents. Much of the ward is in the Geneva Historic District. There is a "complex and important symbiosis" between the downtown merchants, downtown residents and the district's historical identity, he said; preserving the history has proved beneficial to the downtown, attracting shoppers and therefore tax revenue for the city.

Bruno spoke personally earlier this year against the proposed demolition of the historic Pure Oil gas station building on West State Street, which the owner wanted to tear down to make way for a bank drive-through. The city council voted against the demolition, and later the HPC and the council approved a plan where the building is being converted to use as drive-up lanes, through the former service bays.

Also, Treasurer Patrick McQueeny and Clerk Lynn Landberg are running unopposed for re-election, as are aldermen Richard Marks, Dawn Vogelsberg, Ron Singer and Ralph Dantino. Alderman Donald Cummings is running alone for the two-year term in Ward 2, which was created by the departure of Bob Piper in December 2011. That term will expire in April 2015.

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