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Article posted: 2/26/2013 10:32 AM

Wauconda board candidates talk priorities in April 9 election

By Russell Lissau

Controlling the costs of services, economic development and transparency are among the top campaign issues for Wauconda's trustee candidates.

Six people are running for three seats on the board in the April 9 election, and each seat has a 4-year term. They're divided into two slates.

The trustee hopefuls running under the United Wauconda banner are incumbents John Barbini and Lincoln Knight and newcomer Wade Meyer.

The rival One Wauconda slate features trustee candidates Teri Burke, Chuck McEwen and Manuelita Vargas. All three are newcomers.

The candidates were asked to describe their top three campaign issues in Daily Herald questionnaires.

Barbini, Knight and Meyer gave the same answers, word for word in most cases. Burke and McEwen gave their own identical answers, too.

Barbini, Knight and Meyer said controlling the cost of core government services "while still maintaining the quality of those services" was their top concern.

They listed plans to bring drinking water from Lake Michigan to the village by 2016 as their second priority.

Partnering with local businesses to promote economic development and implementing a marketing plan to attract new businesses was their number 3 issue.

Those economic development plans could include the creation of a special taxing district that would "encourage private investments in underdeveloped areas," the trio said.

Burke and McEwen cited government transparency, particularly as it pertains to taxes, as their top campaign issue. They questioned the ability of the current administration to properly manage the Lake Michigan water project, which voters approved in November 2012.

When asked to talk about their number 2 campaign issue, Burke and McEwen complained about the increase in water service rates and late payment fees that have doubled as part of recently adopted changes.

They pledged to replace the percentage-based late fee with a "nominal" flat fee.

The men cited economic development as their number 3 issue. Building and zoning clerks need to be trained how to walk business owners through applications, they said, and stressed that they'd make customer service "our administrative focus."

Like their rivals, they support creating a special taxing district to create favorable business conditions.

Vargas said "water bills" was her number 1 campaign issue. She cited "economic development" and "transparency" as her other two key issues. She didn't elaborate.

The United Wauconda slate also includes Mayor Mark Knigge and Clerk Virginia Irwin.

The One Wauconda slate also includes mayoral candidate Frank Bart and clerk candidate Gina Strelecki.

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