Downtown redevelopment and finances are expected to top the agenda for Lake Zurich's new village president and trustees when they officially take over next month.
Trustee Tom Poynton soundly defeated incumbent Suzanne Branding and Mary Black to take village president job. Incumbent Jeffrey Halen and newcomers Jim Beaudoin, Daniel Stanovich and Mark Loewes were victorious in a pool of nine candidates who were in the race for four village trustee seats.
Halen, Loewes and Stanovich were endorsed by Poynton, who will get to nominate someone to fill the two years remaining on his trustee term on the six-member village board.
Poynton said he plans to urge village officials to redefine strategies for the long-stalled downtown redevelopment. He said better marketing and just "getting after it" will help.
"People want more action," he said. "They're tired of inaction."
Beaudoin said the village's budget needs more revenue, which is why it's important to make downtown redevelopment happen. He said improving village finances and attracting developers to downtown go "hand in hand."
Halen said while projections show a balanced budget for the new fiscal year beginning May 1, potential trouble lurks because of what the tentative document shows as a $39.6 million debt burden. Much of the debt is related to the village's purchases of downtown land for redevelopment that hasn't occurred and therefore is not producing needed property tax revenue, according to the proposed budget.
Creating an economic development manager position to focus on downtown and fill vacant storefronts may be what's needed to generate more tax revenue, Halen said.
"I think with Tom (Poynton) in that leadership role, he will be very proactive to work with the village manager and building and zoning to bring business to Lake Zurich," Halen said.
Downtown redevelopment has been a longtime issue in Lake Zurich. Following months of feasibility studies, the village board in March 2002 approved boundaries for a special taxing district to lure developers to the downtown, but nothing significant has occurred because of the weak economy and other factors.
Lake Zurich has what's called a tax increment financing district for downtown. That's where property tax revenue is frozen at a certain amount and any additional revenue goes into public improvements rather than to local governments such as school or park districts.
Poynton and Beaudoin said they'd like to tap into residents for advisory committees to help push along important matters such as revitalizing downtown. Poynton said Tuesday's election prompted a lot of new interest in community matters, which should energize efforts.
•Daily Herald staff writer Mick Zawislak contributed to this report.