Lael Miller and Jerald Bartels, the two men vying to become village president in East Dundee, have similar visions for the town, but come from different backgrounds.
Miller, who is challenging incumbent Bartels, works as a commercial real estate agent and says he wants to make East Dundee a better place to live. He ran for the village board with Trustee Rob Gorman four years ago and is wrapping up his first term.
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"I think I have more to offer," Miller said during a Daily Herald endorsement interview. "I can do as good a job, or better."
Bartels has a background in computer science, was a manager at a civil engineering firm and now sells engineering software. His family has a long history in the village. His late grandfather, William Bartels, was in village government for 48 years and served as a trustee and as village president.
Bartels was a trustee from 2001 to 2005, and was elected president in 2005. Two years into his term, Bartels stepped down due to new job responsibilities. He was elected president again in 2009.
Bartels is again running for the top job in town to continue the progress East Dundee has made on his watch.
During that time, tax increment finance districts and business development districts have helped East Dundee compete with its neighbors for business. The village worked with the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation to annex key businesses along Route 25, and the village is also partnering with Otto Engineering owner Tom Roeser and property owner Deloris Doederlein to revamp its downtown.
"I think the village has turned a corner since 2009 in many ways," Bartels said.
Miller says his real estate background has helped him make key contributions to East Dundee. He said he helped come up with the land swap agreement with the East Dundee Fire Protection District that ultimately kept it in town. Miller also helped convince Van's Frozen Custard, which was in Carpentersville, to relocate to East Dundee across the street from the Dairy Queen, along the village's popular bike path. And when the board balked at letting Tovar Snow Professionals relocate its corporate headquarters to the village because there wasn't a straight sales tax benefit, Miller convinced the board to make it happen because a corporate headquarters would help spur other development.