The race for Fox Lake mayor pits incumbent Donald Schmit against political newcomer James Polanis, a write-in candidate.
Schmit, who has been mayor for the past four years, has concentrated on improving the village's aging infrastructure. Schmit, 63, who works as a consultant, said there is no money in the budget to fix all the problems. Increasing water rates, while not popular among residents, was necessary to begin fixing the aging roads and water system.
Polanis, 51, a self-employed property manager agrees that roads, water and sewers need repair. He said billing should have been implemented more fairly. He lives in the condominiums at Vacation Village, where there are no water meters to measure usage, so residents must pay a flat rate.
Filling empty storefronts and bringing additional business to the village is another issue both candidates agree needs attention.
Polanis says he would speed up the process to gain occupancy permits, making the village more business friendly. Schmit says the village is placing a big emphasis on bringing business to Fox Lake and says its efforts are working.
Schmit became nationally recognized at the helm of the village when police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was found dead on village-owned property on Sept. 1, 2015. He has worked to put the Gliniewicz saga behind the town.
"We're not looking through the rearview mirror. I've been open and honest the whole time. We have to learn from the past," he said.
Polanis is a thoughtful candidate who offers some good ideas. However, overall village gains under Schmit have earned him another term.