Kaptain takes early lead in Elgin mayor race
Elgin Mayor David Kaptain was holding a lead over challenger Corey Dixon as vote totals were being tabulated Tuesday night.
With about one-quarter of precincts reporting in Kane County and all the votes counted from Cook County, Kaptain had 5,780 votes compared to Dixon's 4,143 votes as of 10 p.m., according to unofficial results.
The website for the Kane County clerk's office, where vote totals are reported, went down around 9:43 p.m. The site had not been restored as of 10:30 p.m.
The campaign for Elgin mayor saw the candidates drawing distinctions between their leadership styles.
During several candidate forums and interviews, Kaptain and Dixon went toe-to-toe over downtown development, the city's council-manager form of government and their visions for the North Grove redevelopment area.
Kaptain said during the campaign that the market will decide more than the city government how new development progresses.
"I believe a lot in what the government can do, but I don't believe that government is the answer for everything," Kaptain said. "People are the answers."
Dixon has argued the city should take a more aggressive role in business recruitment. He said he would focus on creating an entertainment hub and adding more dining options in downtown Elgin.
"Now, downtown is much better than it was even two years ago or four years ago, and so we're headed in the right direction," Dixon said during the campaign. "But we just have not been able to get over the hump. Now, I believe that we can get over the hump, but we have to be intentional about what we want. We can't wait on the market to determine what comes into our community."
Kaptain touts housing developments that have made the downtown area more residential.
"We have to merge the people that are living downtown and their quality of life with the people that want to come downtown for the afternoon or the evening, and that's part of the plan," Kaptain said during the campaign. "That plan was to bring more residential down there, and we've literally added hundreds and hundreds of residential units the last 20 years. I think that's a pretty significant change."
While both men said the city finances are in good shape, Dixon said the city budget is running at a deficit by continuing to draw on its reserves and is missing opportunities by not being more proactive in attracting businesses that can diversify the city's tax base, specifically a cannabis dispensary.
"The cities that are around us (that have dispensaries) are taking advantage of additional tax revenues," he said. "We have a very restrictive code that disallows this from happening."
Kaptain said Elgin has had a stable, financially sound government since he's been in office and that the city continues to meet its obligations, including unfunded mandates like replacing the lead lines and paying into pensions, despite dwindling revenue from the riverboat casino.
"The marijuana business is not going to solve our budget problems, trust me," he said.
The two men did agree on many issues facing the city, specifically the importance of replacing roughly 13,000 lead service water lines and the difficulties of funding the project, estimated at more than $100 million. They've both been complimentary of the performance of the city's police department and expressed strong support for Chief Ana Lalley.
Dixon, 40, works for the Kane County sheriff's office as senior assistant director of administration. He formerly served on the Elgin Image Advisory Commission and the city's planning and zoning commission. His current term on the city council runs until 2025.
Kaptain, 75, unseated 12-year incumbent Ed Schock to become mayor. He had served on the city's planning commission for six years before spending the next six on the city council.