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Article updated: 4/2/2013 10:16 AM

Lake Zurich mayoral candidates weigh in on incentives for development

Mary Black, left, incumbent Suzanne Branding, center, and Trustee Tom Poynton, right, are candidates in the race for Lake Zurich mayor in the April 9 election.

Mary Black, left, incumbent Suzanne Branding, center, and Trustee Tom Poynton, right, are candidates in the race for Lake Zurich mayor in the April 9 election.

 
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Lake Zurich's three mayoral candidates vary slightly in how they view using financial incentives to lure businesses to the village.

Incumbent Suzanne Branding, Trustee Tom Poynton and political newcomer Mary Black are seeking the four-year mayoral seat in the April 9 election. Branding is in the race as part of the United Lake Zurich political slate.

Black, Poynton and Branding have addressed the issues in Daily Herald editorial board endorsement interviews and on candidate questionnaires. One of the issues was the idea of the village offering financial incentives to bring businesses to Lake Zurich.

That topic arose after Lake Zurich approved a sales-tax rebate agreement that may result in up to $2 million going to a developer planning to build a Mariano's Fresh Market as part of a retail project at Route 22 and Quentin Road.

Poynton said while economic incentives have become an effective tool for municipalities to attract new companies, officials first should be on board in making it known Lake Zurich is a great place to do business.

"A previous board approved a significant economic incentive to bring Peapod to (an) industrial park," he said. "Giving economic incentives or reductions of fees are not the perfect situation and we should continue to explore ways to keep more of this revenue in the village. When the village board has been approached about economic incentives, my fellow trustees and I have made sure that the economic incentives have limited time frames and amounts, and that the incentives are used to reimburse developers for public improvements that would not otherwise be built but for the particular development project."

Black, a real-estate broker in her first election, said she supports incentives, but said it's important to "apply a high degree of scrutiny to these matters."

"As such, I will work with Lake Zurich officials in an effort to carefully identify and implement proper financial incentive packages in our effort to develop Lake Zurich," she said.

Branding said she sees financial inducements as a good way to bring into Lake Zurich developers that are on the fence about committing to the village.

"I am in favor of such incentives and they can be a valuable bargaining chip," she said. "The incentive that Mariano's received, was similar to the incentives they received in other communities. In order to be competitive, it is important Lake Zurich is willing to offer incentives and work with businesses as other communities might and still be able to live with the final agreement."

Branding landed on the Lake Zurich village board when she ran with Poynton on a political slate in 2007, but the two have since drifted apart politically. She defeated incumbent John Tolomei and Scot Unger to become mayor in 2009.

Poynton captured his second 4-year trustee term in 2011, so he'll remain on the village board if he loses in the mayor's race.

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