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updated: 4/9/2013 11:31 PM

Veteran aldermen lose Batavia council races

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  • Nicholas Cerone

      Nicholas Cerone

  • Jamie Saam

      Jamie Saam

  • Steve Vasilion

      Steve Vasilion

 
 

The Batavia City Council lost its most experienced alderman Tuesday night, with the defeat of 32-year alderman Eldon Frydendall, 4th Ward Alderman Jim Volk and 6th Ward Alderman Robert Liva.

The losses mean almost half the city council will be freshmen, as incumbents in wards 2, 3 and 7 did not seek re-election.

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In the 7th Ward, where nobody was on the ballot, write-in candidate Drew McFadden won a spot on the council with two write-in votes. Two other write-in candidates, Pat Purcell and Steve Holland, received one apiece, according to unofficial results.

Volk, an 18-year alderman and chairman of the council's city services committee, lost to Jamie Saam. Unofficial vote totals show Saam received 133 votes, and Volk 81.

"Eighteen years has been enough," an amiable Volk said.

Vasilion defeated Frydendall 436-163, according to the unofficial vote totals. He could not be reached for comment.

Liva lost to Nick Cerone in a three-way race, with Ron Rechenmacher coming in third. Liva had 208 votes, Rechenmacher had 100, and Cerone had 368.

Mayor Jeff Schielke, who ran unopposed, was elected to his ninth term. Alderman Michael O'Brien in the 1st Ward, and newcomers Martin Callahan in the 2nd Ward and Kyle Hohmann in the 3rd Ward, were unopposed.

Frydendall, who has not had an opponent in 12 years, disagreed vehemently with Vasilion's characterization of the pace of downtown development, particularly that of the replacement McDonald's and a replacement Walgreens. Vasilion said he thought city processes were holding up approval of a new Walgreens. Frydendall took umbrage and said much of the delay was due to the developer's pace in answering questions raised by city officials.

Frydendall, chairman of the public utilities committee, also defended the city's 2007 decision to buy in to the Prairie State Energy Campus coal-fired electricity plant. It came online last year, and the city is obligated to buy its output, which is more than the city needs and more than it can resell.

Frydendall said the council made the best decision it could at the time with the information available, when it thought electrical use was going to increase as more development happened. The city wanted to stabilize its electrical costs.

Some residents are calling for the city to find a way out of its 28-year contract. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the deal between the plant's developer and the investors.

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