Endorsement: Skillicorn, Lynam and Bartels for East Dundee trustee
East Dundee is a village at a crossroads.
The home to 3,200 people is seeing a spark of redevelopment as a result of its tax increment financing districts. The cramped downtown fire station has been closed and a new station was built on Route 25. The tiny police station is being combined with the old fire station space and being retooled to the tune of $2 million. The attached village hall will get a $2.5 million makeover.
The village now sponsors a variety of events to draw residents -- and hopefully business people and developers -- downtown. Meanwhile, the Walmart store will close soon, taking its $800,000 a year in sales taxes with it.
Incumbent trustees Allen Skillicorn, an avowed tax watchdog, and Jeff Lynam are seeking re-election. Neither is overly concerned about Walmart's departure, saying the corner on which it sits will be redeveloped with something more tax rich. Both favor the outreach the village has been doing, saying it will pay off in strong redevelopment. Jerry Bartels, a trustee for four years and village president for a term and a half, is running again for trustee. He worries about the loss of Walmart an impending crisis in paying for police pensions. He feels the current board has been spending foolishly, pointing to the hiring of full-time police officers when he believes the village can only afford part-timers and purchasing equipment outright when shared ownership with other towns appears to him more practical and affordable.
Bartels and the two incumbents clearly do not get along. But he could provide an important counterpoint to the current board's spending policies and provide a realistic viewpoint in the ongoing conversation about eliminating the village's property tax down the road.
The fourth candidate for three seats is Alan Hall, a former consultant with the fire district who lacks concrete ideas on most of the issues facing the village. Skillicorn, Lynam and Bartels are endorsed.