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Article updated: 5/6/2013 9:22 PM

New mayors debut in Lake Zurich, Round Lake

By Bob Susnjara Mick Zawislak

New mayors made their debuts in Lake Zurich and Round Lake at local government meetings Monday night.

Thomas Poynton moved up from trustee to the mayor's post in Lake Zurich, replacing Suzanne Branding. Poynton, who previously was a Branding political ally, said he already has been pushing for improved communications with village residents through an expanded Facebook page, an upgraded website and a biweekly newsletter.

In Round Lake, political newcomer Daniel MacGillis assumed James Dietz's seat as mayor. MacGillis, who worked in Dietz's campaign four years ago, said he's been busily preparing for office by acclimating himself with different organizations.

"I've made the effort to get to every meeting I can and meet everyone I can," he said.

In his first meeting as Lake Zurich's mayor Monday, Poynton presided over an agenda that included a request for a formal agreement with developer John Breugelmans for a 75-day exclusive window to assemble a project to improve a section of downtown Lake Zurich. Poynton campaigned on a platform that included taking a more aggressive approach toward downtown redevelopment.

Trustees are expected to vote on the document in two weeks after suggested changes are made. Breugelmans wants to construct a four-story building on roughly 2 acres directly overlooking the village's namesake lake. His tentative plan calls for a mixed-use structure with 60 rental apartments that eventually would be converted into condominiums, along with a restaurant, bar, coffee shop and ice-cream parlor.

Poynton said before the meeting he and four trustees who were elected in April plan to "force the issue" concerning downtown Lake Zurich's long-stalled redevelopment. Poynton said his willingness to give the exclusive window to Breugelmans is an example.

"I don't know whether Breugelmans is going to be successful," he said.

Along with Poynton, Monday's swearing-in ceremony featured political newcomers Daniel Stanovich, Mark Loewes and Jim Beaudoin as the new Lake Zurich village board trustees. Trustee Jeff Halen and Village Clerk Kathleen Johnson returned for 4-year terms.

Trustee Henry Frye Jr. and Village Clerk Patricia Blauvelt were sworn in and launched the careers as elected officials Monday night in Round Lake. Returning Trustees Don Newby and Susan Triphahn also took the oath of office.

As for the two mayors who were not re-elected April 9, Dietz said he made a suggestion that MacGillis should "do his homework and make his own decisions."

"I said, `Take it one day at a time,' " Dietz said.

Branding said she has much to be proud of in her 4-year run as Lake Zurich's top elected official. She said her accomplishments included attracting new businesses such as Mariano's Fresh Market, crafting a balanced budget without draining reserve funds and saving taxpayers' money by reducing expenses.

"All of this with a board that wasn't agreeable," Branding said Monday. "I think I did a remarkable job."

If Poynton wanted advice from her about being Lake Zurich's mayor, Branding said, she'd tell him to be thoughtful and organized.

"Keep the community in mind," she said.

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