Recall effort against Wheeling village president fails

The effort to remove Wheeling Village President Pat Horcher from office halfway through his first term has failed.

Organizers of the campaign to oust Horcher through a recall election said they did not have enough signatures by a Monday deadline to put the measure on the ballot in April. The group needed 744 registered voters' signatures to put the question to voters. David Kolssak, who led the effort, said the group collected about 450 signatures.

The recall effort stemmed in part from questions about whether Horcher is paying a fair share of taxes on about 50 acres his family owns south of Wieland and McHenry roads. The Cook County assessor's office is planning to inspect the property in December to determine whether the family pays the correct amount of taxes.

The recall group had 30 days from the date it submitted its intentions to the village clerk's office to turn in the petitions. That deadline passed Monday.

"It's a big fight to fight," Kolssak said. "I'm sad that the recall effort didn't really work out, but I hope that the tax assessor's not sitting on his hands."

Horcher said he's glad the angst of the past month is over.

"I do hope that it's a vote of confidence that the people have in me," Horcher said. "I'm really just trying to do the best I can for the village."

Though the threat of an April recall vote is over, Horcher still faces an analysis of his family's property by the Cook County tax assessor's office.

Horcher, his brothers and their father operate several businesses on the property, including a farm and vegetable stand, greenhouse and flower shop, truck parking and towing, and landscaping services. At issue is whether the family declared more of the land than allowed as agricultural, which is taxed at a lower rate than commercial property.

Horcher said Monday that after studying the property, he is confident that assessor's office will find that the family has paid its fair share.

"As goofy as this might sound, I'm really eager to have the assessor come out," he said.

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