Three of the four candidates for Sugar Grove Township supervisor said at a candidate forum Tuesday that while the township board may have made mistakes, they are learning from them and vow to do better.
And the fourth said his business experience would help him with the "nuts and bolts" of the job, including improving how the township accounts for its money.
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Supervisor Harry Davis and Trustees Scott Jesseman and Tom Rowe are seeking the supervisor post, as is Curt Karas.
Davis was a trustee until January, when the board appointed him to fill the vacancy left when Dan Nagel resigned. Rowe, who was the clerk, was then appointed to fill Davis' trustee spot.
Nagel quit in November, after Jesseman asked Sugar Grove police to investigate if Nagel had spent township money for personal expenditures, or for selling his refrigerator to the township. Sugar Grove police have not announced the results of the investigation.
"We've corrected a lot of things that shouldn't have been," said Jesseman, who was appointed to the board in 2009.
Karas said his master's in business administration and status as a certified public accountant would be valuable. "I would like to get the accounting system working much better than it is right now for the township," he said. He believes that would produce more accurate information for trustees to make decisions.
Rowe was first elected clerk in 2001. He cited his top priorities as increasing programming for senior citizens, improving transportation services for senior citizens, and "get our financial house in order." He described himself as an organized detail guy saying, "Things will not slip through the crack."
Jesseman said the township should lower its property tax levy. "I don't see us having a need for the amount of money we take in," he said. He said that in January the board reduced the pay for the supervisor post, from $25,000 a year to $18,000. "We want somebody who isn't doing it for the pay," he said.
Davis said he wants to be supervisor to continue the work accomplished in the last three months. He talked about how the board is now better prepared for its meetings, receiving its information packet ahead of time, "so we don't have to spend the (meeting) night reading information."
He wants to work with other agencies, including the village and Kane County. "I don't think we've been very effective that way. We duplicated efforts and spent quite possibly more than we should have." And as an example, Jesseman cited a recent project with a local drainage district doing some dredging, wherein the township sent trucks to pick up the dirt and arranged to deliver it to a local farmer, so there was no disposal cost.
Rowe noted the township started a website late last year but said more needs to be done with it, including posting agendas and meeting minutes on it. (The Sugar Grove Township assessor has had a separate website for years.)
"We have a lot better board, a lot stronger, a lot more involved. Everyone takes ownership," Jesseman said.