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Article updated: 4/10/2013 10:38 AM

Newcomer Bart unseats Knigge for Wauconda mayor

By Steve Zalusky

Challenger Frank Bart, making his first bid for public office, defeated Wauconda Mayor Mark Knigge in a tight race Tuesday.

Unofficial results showed Bart, a consultant and Army Reserve officer, leading Knigge 887-856, with ballots in all 11 precincts counted.

More successful than Knigge were two other incumbents running for trustee, Lincoln F. Knight and John F. Barbini, both of whom ran with Knigge on the United Wauconda Party slate.

Winning three trustee seats were Knight, topping all candidates with 852 votes; Teri Burke with 848 votes; and Barbini with 822 votes.

Of the other trustee candidates: Chuck McEwen had 816 votes; Wade Meyer had 765; and Lita Vargas won 746.

"I definitely think it was low voter turnout that was a major factor in this race," Barbini said, reflecting on Knigge's loss. "I just think (it was) people being concerned about the cost of government in general, not just village government, and what they have to pay in taxes.

"The mayor is the leader of any ticket or slate of candidates, and I think the mayor typically becomes the lightning rod of favorable voter reaction or negative voter reaction."

Burke, of the One Wauconda slate led by Bart, said it is always difficult when going up against an incumbent.

"The odds were not in our favor," she said. Burke -- who ran on the issues of water billing and taxes -- said those issues resonated with the residents.

Bart had called for more transparency, claiming, for example, that in spite of the fact that the fire district levies taxes, the village has continued to levy a tax originally levied for fire protection contracts.

Knigge pledged fiscal responsibility, promising to control the cost of core government services while maintaining their quality.

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