St. Charles will have a new mayor after Tuesday's election. Geneva and Sugar Grove, maybe.
The current leaders in Batavia, North Aurora and Elburn are not opposed.
St. Charles residents have four choices to replace the retiring Don DeWitte.
John Rabchuk, Ray Rogina, Jotham Stein and Jake Wyatt have debated the future of Charlestowne Mall, the stalled First Street development, empty downtown stores and rowdy taverns, and every issue from video gambling and racial profiling to taxes and housing.
The contest has featured more candidate forums than in recent history, boosting the profile of the candidates and the issues. But all fear predictions of low turnout will leave the election in the hands of relatively few residents.
All four hopefuls campaigned heavily on the need to bring more business and tax dollars into the city. They have different plans and credentials to accomplish the task.
Rabchuk is a business consultant and has been a member of several city commissions and organizations, including the Comprehensive Plan Task Force and the Downtown St. Charles Partnership. Rogina is a current aldermen and instructor at Aurora University. Stein is an attorney and owns a downtown business. Wyatt is a retired Army colonel and business consultant.
Twelve-year Mayor Kevin Burns is challenged by Bob McQuillan, a co-founder of the Geneva TaxFACTS spending watchdog group. The group mostly focuses on the decisions of the Geneva school board but also has paid some attention to the city council.
Burns has painted himself as a fiscally conservative ambassador for the town. He has questioned whether McQuillan is concerned about much besides property taxes and spending, said McQuillan has “slammed” the city's professional staff, and he criticized McQuillan's characterization of the city's Downtown/Station Area Master Plan as “pie-in-the-sky dreaming.”
McQuillan calls himself an underdog and advocate for taxpayers. He has disputed the economic statistics Burns has cited, criticized the city's increasing the property tax levy each year to at least account for new growth, and said recent budgets have been unbalanced because they call for spending more money than the city expected to take in. He proposes that the Tri-Cities band together to market the area to tourists.
Trustee Kevin Geary is challenging incumbent Sean Michels for the village president's post. Both have served in their current offices since 1999.
Geary's campaign has criticized the village's use of an engineering firm founded by Michels' father during the years Michels has been president, or before that, trustee. He has pushed for more “transparency” in village government and better communications with residents, and said he will be more proactive about attracting businesses.
Michels has said Geary has no vision for the village; talked about his efforts to get a full Interstate 88/Route 47 interchange, as well as Route 47 widened, possibly with money from the defunct Prairie Parkway project; and said one of his top priorities is getting fiber-optic cable to the village to improve residents' and businesses' choices for Internet and data services. He pointed out as president he was not called on to vote on the engineering contracts, and that Geary voted “yes” on them.
Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke will be elected to a ninth consecutive term, Dale Berman to his third term as North Aurora president, and Elburn President Dave Anderson to his second consecutive term.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.