Two of the three newcomers running for a spot on the East Dundee village board said officials should have done a better job of explaining an auto auction business proposal to the public.
Insurance Auto Auctions hopes to sell wrecked vehicles to the highest bidder from a building and 34 acres of outdoor storage on a reclaimed gravel pit in East Dundee.
The site is near a Barrington Hills subdivision, where residents have said they fear leaking fluids from vehicles will contaminate groundwater. East Dundee has approved the plan's concept but has yet to vote on its redevelopment agreement.
In November, a Barrington Hills-based group that opposes the project mailed a flier about the proposal to East Dundee residents. But East Dundee and IAA officials said the flier contained inaccurate information about the project. IAA later sent a cease-and-desist letter to the group.
Village President Jerald Bartels has said the village did all that was legally required to notify the public about the proposal. That included several meetings in which the board discussed IAA's plans and that gave the public a chance to comment on them, he said.
Five people -- two incumbents and three challengers -- are running for three seats on the village board. During a recent Daily Herald endorsement session, challenger Dan Selep said East Dundee should have mailed out fliers of its own that detailed the proposal to clear up any confusion.
"I think more information should have been given out by the village," Selep said. "I think that would have squelched a lot of this bad press."
Challenger Kirstin Wood said a town-hall meeting among both villages, IAA and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, would have been another way to address the issue.
"I don't think East Dundee did a good enough job communicating with Barrington Hills," Wood said. "You've got to say you gave it your best try, and from that perspective, I don't think they did."
Newcomer Mark Poynor said he doesn't understand the uproar from Barrington Hills and said IAA is good for East Dundee because it means more tax dollars. He also said he wouldn't stop a meeting from occurring.
Incumbent Rob Gorman noted that he voted against a portion of the IAA project because there had not been enough dialogue or investigation into Barrington Hills' issues. Gorman later met with Barrington Hills officials to flesh out their concerns and he put some of their suggestions in the redevelopment plan. Gorman would not be opposed to a town-hall meeting.
"If it would help people to understand, it is fantastic, but I think the candidates aren't aware of the number of meetings that have actually happened and they don't know the discussions that have happened to date," Gorman said.
Meanwhile, incumbent Paul VanOstenbridge agrees with Bartels. He couldn't be reached for comment, but in his candidate questionnaire, he said, "I believe the residents of East Dundee elect representatives for a reason, and most trust that as fellow residents we are making the best decision we can to help the village."