Q&A: Sugar Grove Village Board
Sugar Grove Village Board
Name: David Paluch
Education and employment background:
BA-Columbia College. Currently employed by Verizon Wireless. I have been in outside sales with business and government since 1996
Name: Kevin Geary
Education and employment background:
College of DuPage and Waubonsee Community College course work in General Studies, Electronics, and Real Estate. Over the last 31 years, I have held a number of professional positions, from technical training specialist to customer service representative to quality control process and metric engineer to currently a real estate broker/owner. With my diverse background, I would like to bring my quality, customer service, and business experiences to the table and apply my outstanding business skills to our village projects and programs.
Name: Mari Johnson
Education and employment background:
Education: St. Edward High School, Elgin, Ill., class of 1976; College: Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics, 1979; Illinois Benedictine College (Benedictine University), Lisle, Ill.
Employment: Currently employed as trustee for the village of Sugar Grove. I am a wife and mother. I also perform a variety of volunteer work in Sugar Grove and the Kaneland area.
Name: Mark Buschbacher
Education and employment background:
Education: BS Marketing, Illinois State University
Employment: Director Human Resources Patterson Dental Supplies Inc., North America—12 years
How would you define
the role of your office?
Paluch: The position of trustee has many roles. Our main responsibility is to ensure that we make decisions which will benefit the citizens of our town. These responsibilities include keeping the village financially stable, making smart business decisions regarding which businesses or housing developments come into Sugar Grove, approving infrastructure projects, and our main concern is to provide a better quality of life for our residents.
Another important role is to allow our citizens the opportunity for their issues to be addressed, listen to their concerns, and be accountable to the residents. Any elected official is a servant of the people, and in order to lead you must serve and listen.
The other position is to lead by example and get involved with the community through volunteer work outside of village hall. I feel it’s critical for any trustee to get involved in community projects, and encourage others to help make Sugar Grove a better town.
Geary: I see the position of the village official as a two-part role, with the first part as a resident representative and second as a policy maker. This is based on my belief that the village functions as a service/regulatory organization.
As a representative of the residences, our job is to bring their issues, concerns and desires to the board for consideration, deliberation and hopefully a common sense solution.
As a policy maker, the board collectively sets goals and objectives for the village while creating necessary policies to get that work done. The staff are the people in charge of getting the work done.
Johnson: As a trustee, I am in service to my community. The position entails policy-making, decision-making, financial analysis for the entire village. The Village Board works to keep Sugar Grove moving forward with the creation and review of ordinances, subdivision review, business review, oversight of budgets, capital projects and general services. We strive to provide our residents with the services they need within budgetary constraints. We are continuously working to ensure that residents are provided a safe and pleasant environment to live and raise their families.
Buschbacher: I believe the role of village trustee is strategic—in the sense that it stays in line with the goals of the town. I firmly believe that running Sugar Grove would be no difference than running a business. Accountable to the shareholders (in this case the taxpayers). The village trustee needs to stay true to the mission statement, providing the basic services to your community and citizens and staying fiscally responsible.
Think “outside the box”. They also need to be on the forefront of growth and how that growth impacts several sectors: infrastructure, schools, retail and commercial development, but most of all, how these critical aspects affect the overall tax base. There has to be a constant consciousness of overall balance. Too strong of a focus in one general area will throw the entire budgeting process out.
What are the top three priorities
you would focus on if elected
and how would you address them?
Paluch: 1. I support smart and balanced growth for business and commercial development. Bringing in businesses that make sense for the village will bring additional tax revenues, which will help fund village projects and the Kaneland school system. Being on the Planning Commission, I know that businesses are very interested in coming here, and I am willing to listen to anyone who’s interested in investing in Sugar Grove, providing it makes sense to the village.
When it comes to housing development, I would want to see the 450 vacant lots we have today developed before any new development starts. Bringing in roof tops is important to entice business opportunities, and I also believe that the right business opportunities will help bring in roof tops. The Route 47-Interstate 88 interchange will help down the line, but this project may take years to complete.
2. We must improve the public safety in our village, specifically the need to repair streets, sidewalks and sewer/water systems in the west and east side of town south of routes 30/56. I have seen these crumbling streets, poor sidewalks and flooding issues that need improvements.
3. It’s also very important that our residents know they have a voice in the government, and that they will have an understanding that their government will listen to them. Part of that plan includes open and honest government, and the residents will have an opportunity to know what’s going on with their village. I know the village is working on finalizing an agreement with MediaCom, and it’s my goal to have every Village Board meeting broadcast on the public access channel. For the residents who don’t have cable, I would love to see the village utilize the latest in technology and have the meetings broadcast over the internet. It would be great if that technology could be utilized to the point where residents could e-mail or Skype in questions to the board in real time. If someone can’t make it to a meeting, they can still participate by using the latest in technology to keep informed of the issues. Utilizing Facebook, Twitter, and any other social or media outlets, this will enable our residents to keep informed. Using this technology will put us on the cutting edge of bringing 21st century technology to the residents.
Geary: 1. As a village trustee, I have listened to what you, the taxpayer, have to say and have successfully worked on your behalf to get the job done and will continue to work for you. Continue to champion the causes for all residents by making myself available and listening to their concerns.
2. Promote business growth within the village, to increase the amount of retail, office, and industrial tax base, which offers no negative impact to our School District, as well as to the village’s infrastructure. To use innovative and creative thinking to find ways to incentivize businesses (job growth) to relocate to Sugar Grove, and work with the board to get those incentives approved.
3. Keeping the village financially sound while continuing to provide the necessary services to our residents. Continue to scrutinize the budget and hold the line on spending for capitol items, such as village vehicles and see if we can’t get more service out of the vehicles before having to replace them. This is only one example.
Johnson: A. To continue to remain fiscally responsible, while providing the necessary services that the community has come to expect. This would be police and public safety, water, sewer, street maintenance, snowplowing, garbage removal, building permits and inspections, planning and zoning etc.
B. Future infrastructure repairs to streets, water and sewer needs, street lights and building maintenance. Being able to plan for these needed upgrades will be a key priority. The economic downturn has made future funding of capital repairs and purchases more precarious. It will take careful planning and creative funding to be able to accomplish these capital needs.
C. Diversification of the tax base will continue to be a priority. By looking to grow our tax base in the areas of commercial, retail and industrial businesses, we will be able to generate tax dollars for the community without adding the burden of additional residents. If these businesses are retail in nature, we will also have the benefits of sales tax revenue in addition to the property taxes. By diversifying our tax base, we will also be benefiting the Kaneland School District with additional tax revenue and no students.
Buschbacher: Given the economic climate and the fact that the budget is balanced (for now), what are the main priorities of the village. What has been accounted for in the budget for road repair? I can tell you there is no money going for road replacement, only patching. That tells me we don’t have enough funds in road repair. We will need to seek out grants for road repairs to budget two years out on replacement, or more cost cutting measures will need to be taken.
Revenue generating: We need to seek out not only cost cutting ideas, but what revenue generating ideas can the village do? One thought is to look into red light cameras; we have a great amount of “passer through” traffic in our town. With a limited police force, we have the ability to enforce violators through the assistance of cameras.
Challenge the current board to think “outside the box.” I think the current trustees on the board have been complacent. I think some of the challenges that face the village in the near future will better define the trustees’ position. I think with my strong business background and leadership, I can bring a challenge to the mundane thinking of “this is how we have always done it.” If we don’t start demanding more of the leadership on the Village Board and holding them more accountable, then we should start thinking on why this is a paid position. In the business world, board members are held accountable, if they are not … then they are replaced.
What prompted you
to seek this position?
Paluch: I have always had an interest in politics and democracy. This is why we are the greatest nation on earth, where any citizen can have the opportunity to participate in their government. I have attended nearly every board meeting for the past three years, because I wanted to know what our government was doing to help out the residents.
I first ran two years ago because I wanted to see the village be more aggressive in getting businesses into town, and helping ease the tax burden off the residents. I am very happy to see that over the past two years, the village has been moving in the right direction and bringing in several businesses into town. Over the past two years, we have seen many small businesses make their home in Sugar Grove, and I know several more are coming. I decided to run again because I know I can utilize my knowledge of working with businesses and government to keep Sugar Grove moving ahead. I have developed a great relationship with the current board members, Village President Sean Michaels, as well as the department heads.
Geary: I enjoy serving our community, and believe it to be the highest honor to represent the citizens of Sugar Grove and being able bring their issues, concerns and desires to the board for consideration and deliberation and hopefully a common-sense solution.
Johnson: I was prompted to seek this position in 1995. I had been attending almost all village board meetings and committee meetings as a local reporter for five years, and I was very involved in the Sugar Grove Community Club, Sugar Grove Library Friends, served on various committees, and worked on Corn Boil. The many residents that I came in contact with through my volunteerism asked me to serve my community as a trustee. They appreciated my dedication and the knowledge that I had of the village. That service to my community is what still prompts me to run for another term in office.
Buschbacher: My wife Marcy and I chose to move to Sugar Grove from Aurora to raise our family. We love the area and have become active in the community. Sugar Grove has a lot to offer any family. I became more aware of our surroundings at the start of the economic downturn. It was shocking to see all these residential developments go under. The wind was taken out of our sail…
With a heavy business background, I began to learn as much as I can in the development stages of the town. I kept thinking about what brought my family to Sugar Grove—a hidden gem of a location, a sense of a community on the rise and retail/commercial would help offset some of the already heavy residential tax burdens. I really began to think what was slowing the process down? I’ve had conversations with Village President Sean Michels, and he liked some of my ideas as well as my enthusiasm. At that time I decided to run for trustee.
How do you plan
to achieve your goals?
Paluch: In order to achieve these goals, we need to communicate. It’s critical to keep the residents up to date on the issues, and to listen to their concerns. It’s also important to build business partnerships with the developers who want to come here, providing they will bring something of value to the community. We have to erase the old stigma the village has of being difficult to work with in regards to bringing in new business and residential development. I have seen that the village has been more flexible when dealing with developers, and we need to eliminate the perceptions of our village.
I can also achieve my goals by building trust between the residents and their government. It is important, and having many avenues for open communication will help establish that trust. You need to lead by example, and do what you sat you’re going to do. In an open dialogue with the residents, it’s important to be honest with them, even if the answer is something they may not like, it’s important to let them know. I know they’ll appreciate the honesty.
Geary: The plan I would use to achieve the goals in representing the residents is by continuing to listen to what they have to say, and identifying how the village can assist them in resolving their issues and then working synergistically with the board to get it done.
Economic growth: I have made several growth-minded proposals to village staff as well as board members on how Sugar Grove can attract additional business to town. The proposals made would offer incentives with the use of property tax abatement. Because not every business generates sales tax, the village could offer a property tax abatement program for any business willing to relocate to Sugar Grove and creates a certain number of jobs for a set period of time.
This solution addresses a number of issues the village currently faces. First of all, this solution incentivizes businesses to relocate to Sugar Grove, filling already-built space and/or requiring new space to be built (growth).
Second, as part of the business relocation program, this increases the village’s daytime population that will drive other businesses to open up in town and potentially create more jobs (growth). Lastly, my belief is business owners and their employees will want to choose to live in Sugar Grove and will create a market for buying up the available real estate and could create a demand for new construction (growth).
Johnson: I plan to achieve our goals by working in cooperation with the other board members and our village staff. We work together with a give-and-take dialogue on issues facing the village. We made the move many years ago to do away with the separate committees and formed a Committee of the Whole. This Committee of the Whole process has allowed all trustees to have information in all areas. No one is left out. This allows for full understanding of the various departmental issues that come before the board.
As a member of the Village Board, I do not make any promises to anyone about a project/issue, as it is not my sole decision. I can only promise that I will work diligently to know the facts, argue my points and make the best decision on behalf of the entire village of Sugar Grove.
Buschbacher: My first initiative would be to have a SWOT analysis of the village strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats, with all board members present. All businesses need a clear understanding of what they are good at and what are the potential dangers.
Although the board has acted fairly conservative in the last 10 years, what have we missed out on in the development opportunities? This is the time when the board takes a strong look at itself. It becomes a strong strategy session where each member is held accountable to the vision and direction of the village. It also holds members accountable to the strategic initiatives and identifies strengths of each board member.
Why are you the best candidate
for this position?
Paluch: I have attended nearly every board meeting for the past three years, and even though I don’t have the experience as the two incumbents, Kevin and Mari, I do have an understanding of the issues, and what the village is doing to resolve them. I felt it was important to keep up to date on the issues even after I did not win two years ago. I know it’s important to know what’s going on in the village, and I have shown a dedication to this job.
Geary: I am the best candidate for the job because I make myself highly accessible to the people I serve, whether it’s at a Sugar Grove Corn Boil meeting, visiting the library, Chamber of Commerce meeting, picking up groceries at one of our local stores, or getting a soda pop at one of the local gas stations. I am always ready to listen to what the people of Sugar Grove have to say.
In addition to being a really good listener, I have a wealth of business experience from a pretty diverse background of jobs that the village and its residents can benefit from. From my past, I have been a process and metrics engineer, which measures the effectiveness of processes and identifies problem areas. I have been a customer service representative, so I understand outstanding customer service. Lastly, I’m a business owner in our community, and I believe I understand what the businesses need to be successful in Sugar Grove.
Johnson: I am the best candidate for the job because of my experience, knowledge and passion for my community. I am a strong woman, confident in my abilities and my opinions, and I bring that much-needed woman’s perspective to the table. I am not afraid to question things and I do not shy away from making tough decisions. Yet, while being able to make my case in an argument, I can also see the other side. I understand the importance of cooperation and compromise while serving on the Village Board. I want residents to know that what is first and foremost in my mind when making decisions is the welfare of the entire Sugar Grove community.
Buschbacher: I think my business background makes me the best candidate. I’ve been involved with private and publically held businesses who have grown organically, restructured, brick and mortar (through acquisitions). Regardless of the business objective, shareholder value was the number-one concern. I don’t find this to be any different in the case of Sugar Grove citizens. They pay taxes and demand basic services.
The village trustee must be able to deliver this to the citizens regardless the obstacles. I believe I bring more strategic and business acumen to the position, a piece that is missing with the current candidates.
With our current struggling economy,
should Sugar Grove change
its short and long-term plans,
and if so, how?
Paluch: We are fortunate enough to be operating at a surplus, and we are projecting a surplus for next year, so the answer is no. We should continue on with our plans, and keep focused on how we make it even better for our residents.
The short-term goals include: keeping the budget balanced, fixing the flooding issues at Mallard Point, continue working on street and sidewalk repairs, working on the IGA with Kaneland, replacing the trees that were destroyed by the Emerald Ash Borers, which nearly 33 percent were in the Windsor subdivision, continue providing a high quality of service with reduced staffs, and encouraging new business to come to town
The good news is many of these projects have been funded by either grants or approved on the budget. We won’t need to raise taxes or issue bonds to help fund these projects. In addition, we are working with new water rates because they were not covering the expenditures for providing water service.
The long-term goals are also important to our success; the interchange at Route 47-Interstate 88, the project to expand Route 47 from Yorkville to Sugar Grove. Both of these projects will include state and federal agencies, and it will take time to get the projects started and funded, but they are very important issues.
We are also working on connecting bike paths throughout the communities in Sugar Grove, building new facilities for police and public works, and completing our home development. Another goal is to encourage the utilization of green technology for homes and businesses. By exploring the applications of wind, and solar, recycling rain water, and incorporating green roofs in new buildings, we could lead the way for other communities to follow our example, and help set us apart from every other suburb.
I would also like to see new home developers incorporate some affordable housing for those with special needs. There are residents here that want to have independent living, but they can’t afford a new home in the area. I would like to see something that will allow them to live in a safe neighborhood and have their families close by.
Geary: I would like to address this question in this way: The economy that we’re facing today is a much different economy than the past, and trying to utilize the older antiquated methodologies of the past will not get the job done. I also believe the Village Board needs to re-evaluate its approach to all projects and procedures, looking for the greatest value for the taxpayer’s dollar. A great example of this was a project from last year that came in below budget, and the board identified an additional project that was shelf ready. We were able to get that project done as well for the same dollars that we had earmarked to spend on a single project. I believe this is a great use of village resources to complete projects.
Johnson: I believe that we have already made modifications to our goals. Now, the major focus is to accomplish the necessary services for the community and do it by staying within our means. I think that is what our citizens want. They want the assurance that we are not overspending and that we will work to make the difficult financial decisions to keep the village on solid ground. In order to keep providing the services our residents expect, we have had to amend our thought process for long-term goals.
There are not as many projects waiting in the wings. We have pushed back the purchase of various vehicles and equipment. We will have to be very selective in choosing which streets will get the funding for repairs. We will have to delay implementing a comprehensive land use plan update. We are also pushing back the update of the citizen survey, bike plan implementation and other beautification projects. These are just a few of the bigger projects we had on a long-term list. But these decisions are no different than the tough decisions being made in homes throughout the community. We must first address our needs, and as funding becomes available, we can then begin to focus on our wants.
Buschbacher: We can start by defining the trustee position and what role it plays to the citizens of Sugar Grove. The current board has already forced itself to change, they just aren’t telling the citizens. Residential was the short-term vision, and the only vision. There was so much emphasis put on residential that commercial/retail and infrastructure was put secondarily.
What the village is now faced with is undeveloped subdivisions that have been vacated by developers/missed opportunities for issuing letters of credit and no commercial or retail tax base to rescue it. The direction of Sugar Grove will hinder on this election. Voters will decide if the current incumbents over the last 12 to 16 years have guided and directed the village of Sugar Grove residents accordingly.
The Kaneland School District
connects Sugar Grove to a number
of neighboring communities.
How should Sugar Grove help foster
a spirit of cooperation among them?
Paluch: To start, I want to emphasize how the schools are already bringing the communities together. John Shields School is being used for church services for St. Katherine Drexel; it hosts book sales, Holidays in the Grove, and it’s used as a cooling station for the Corn Boil.
The high school brings communities together with sports, plays, concerts, art fairs, etc. The intergovernmental agreement is something that the surrounding communities work together on to make sure we are supporting the school system in these tough economic times.
Geary: I believe that each municipality associated through Kaneland School District has an obligation to develop responsibly and to not unreasonably burden another governmental agency such as school, fire protection, library etc. In the case of Sugar Grove, this is why I continue to propose developing more of our commercial properties. By developing in this manner, we will generate property tax dollars and at the same time not put a single student in the school system. This will also bring balance to Sugar Grove’s development types, residential versus commercial (retail, office, industrial) development.
While I am a strong proponent of intergovernmental agreements, I also require of those agreements the need for accuracy of their calculations and that the requirements are reasonable. The measure I use is, “is this agreement fair and equitable to all parties involved?” I would like to see a round table at least once a year as an open forum to have free exchange of ideas and share issues, concerns and solutions.
Johnson: The village of Sugar Grove already works to be cooperative with the other municipalities in the Kaneland School District. The village president and administrator participate in meetings on a regular basis with representatives of the School District and the municipalities. They share the concerns that are facing their respective communities. This has been an ongoing process.
The village also has an annual round-table meeting of all of the taxing bodies within the village. At this meeting, all of the taxing bodies give updates of their situations. We have been doing these meetings for seven years.
Another way that the spirit of cooperation is achieved is through acknowledgement of our similar situations. This is accomplished in a less-formalized setting. Through the many volunteer organizations that I participate in, I come into contact with a variety of Kaneland area residents. Just chatting and sharing conversation, allows for a level of cooperation. It provides insight into what they may be experiencing in another part of the district.
Buschbacher: As we venture into the next four-year term of trustee, it is imperative that the surrounding towns build synergies on cost-saving items. Budgets will need to continually be stretched, where there are cross-over in resources/capital equipment, etc. We will need to look into and adapt, opportunities to have neighboring leaders along with school superintendent come together and have a focus session on the development of our schools.
Once an overall goal has been established, then each neighboring town is held accountable through action planning. The first step is getting them all together and creating a plan.
When has this been done? We need to think “outside the box.” Change is coming and the question is, are we ready for it?
What should Sugar Grove
do to help expand its economic base?
Paluch: As part of the planning commission, we approved the plans for McDonald’s to come to town. They are scheduled to start construction in early April, and will provide nearly 100 full- and part-time jobs. This will help open the door for other big name businesses to come to Sugar Grove. Some of the companies that have expressed interest coming into town include Walgreen’s, and Malloy Brown wants to open a center for brain injury and head trauma. The new center will provide 100 full time jobs. Adding this center could inspire a hotel to be built nearby. Producers Chemical is looking at moving to Sugar Grove. Scot Industries is looking to expand their building, which will add more jobs. The work has already begun on bringing in a new gas station/sports bar across from Waubonsee. Within the next few weeks, a new bank will be opening, and I would like to see a family restaurant, a pet store and a hardware store come to town.
The village has a lot to offer many potential business owners; access to major roadways; Route 30, Route 47, and Interstate 88. We have thousands of commuter students that attend Waubonsee Community College, and they don’t have many options to purchase, food, drinks or other goods.
Geary: For years, the easy answer has always been more residential, more residential, because the retailers were telling the village that we needed more rooftops in order to support the retail growth and expansion. The message now is that we need to increase our daytime population.
The village currently has three key projects on their radar, and if approved, can help increase the daytime population in town. The first is a Head Trauma Rehabilitation Center, second is medical or urgent care center sponsored by Delnor Hospital, and the third is an expansion of an existing business’ industrial warehouse. Each of these projects is monumental and critical to the sustained growth within Sugar Grove.
Each of these businesses will provide in-town employment opportunities, and their employees will need gas for their cars, dry-cleaning services, groceries, dining, auto repair, and maybe even some housing. I also believe that the village should be looking at synergy among businesses so that they can co-locate and cut down on the number of miles products have to travel for assembly or exchange.
With current gas prices going up, one of the ways that businesses are looking to save money is by creating synergy with their suppliers. If Sugar Grove can recognize and capitalize on this need of our existing businesses and then assist them with finding synergetic businesses and see if we can get those businesses to relocate to Sugar Grove. This could be a win-win situation for the business and for Sugar Grove.
Johnson: The village needs to continue to work with developers in a cooperative fashion. This includes listening to their needs and balancing their needs with the needs of the community. We have stressed that the village will consider economic incentives on a case-by-case basis. We have also shown a willingness to work through the development process in a more timely fashion. Our Plan Commission members are willing to have extra meetings if necessary, as will the Village Board.
We continue to participate in the ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) shows in Las Vegas and Chicago. This allows contact with many developers in one location. The strong infrastructure improvements that we have put in place is also a positive incentive to the commercial developer.
We have worked to have water, sewer and transportation improvements. The diversification of the tax base benefits more than just the village of Sugar Grove, it provides a positive impact on the Kaneland School District as well.
In addition to attracting new businesses to the community, it is equally as important to work with our existing businesses. Our community development director has taken the steps to meet with these businesses to see what the village can do to assist them. Retention and expansion of these businesses is key to continued growth in our daytime population numbers.
I have also had the opportunity to serve as the village’s liaison to the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce, and this provides another avenue for open lines of communication between the chamber members and the village. The continued cooperation between the village and developers, both commercial and residential, will be a key component to the expansion of the village’s tax base.
Buschbacher: I have a business background, and I believe in a “value added model” that if you put a quality product out there and can back it up with your services, people will pay for that. We have to believe in our “business model.” We have a quality product offering … location, rural setting, small-town feel with access roads to take us where ever we desire. If we decide to change the “model” and give away our product, we’ll be doing and injustice to our citizens.
I’m all for negotiating for the right situation, but we have a “quality product” that other towns don’t have … we have a great community, location and schools.
I bring an energy and enthusiasm along with optimism that we can attract the right retail and commercial business to Sugar Grove, but this will not happen by just taking a “build it and they will come” attitude. We do have neighboring towns going through the same situation. We will need to be aggressive and strategic in attracting businesses. We need start pushing the Route 47 and Interstate 88 full interchange … this will give us the leverage to go after businesses/retail and commercial development.
As cities and municipalities to the east of us begin to squeeze tax dollars out of their current businesses, those businesses will want to relocate and look for new opportunities west. We have the “value added model,” a quality product along with great services. If we don’t seek out these businesses, other municipalities will. We need to be aggressive, but in order to do so we have to show them the “value added model.” This is the role of your trustee.
Overall, do you believe
the village is on the right track?
Paluch: Yes. The current board has done a great job in keeping us financially sound, and despite the economy, we have been attracting new businesses. A slow and balanced growth approach has worked, and we are doing far better than some of our neighbors.
Geary: I believe that the future for Sugar Grove is outstanding, provided that the village remains fiscally responsible and encourages growth. Looking back over the last four to eight years, Sugar Grove grew at a slower pace than other surrounding communities, but you take a look at some of the financial problems that those communities are experiencing today and that Sugar Grove does not have those problems, I think we have done well.
The village has a number of key projects on its radar, which the community will greatly benefit from and will serve to continue to diversify our tax base.
Johnson: I believe whole-heartedly that the village of Sugar Grove is on the right track. We have made solid planning decisions for the future growth of our community. We have been forward-thinking in looking at infrastructure needs. We have made the tough financial decisions to keep the village financially sound. Our professional staff exhibits strong leadership skills and a devotion to their “adopted” community. We have strengthened relationships at the county and state levels and stay involved with our congressman.
We look for creative ways to accomplish our goals, through cooperative partnerships, grants and inter-governmental agreements. We have experienced growth in our commercial areas, even in a down economy, and are looking forward to the construction of McDonald’s later this spring, and the planned expansion of some existing industrial interests.
We have a strong working relationship with the city of Aurora, the operation of the Aurora Municipal Airport and expected construction of the HondaJet facility. Though not technically in the village limits, it will be a part of our community.
Buschbacher: I believe the incumbents will answer “yes” to this question. My answer is they haven’t done enough. They have not done enough in the long-term planning.
In the 12 to 16 years in which they have served to put Sugar Grove on the right track, it will be interesting to ask this question in four years when the trustees’ term is up.
Will the roads be maintained? Will commercial and retail come because McDonald’s opened? Will there be a need for a tax increase because our schools, who rely heavily on residential tax base and commercial or retail support, didn’t come as promised? We shouldn’t have had to wait 11 years for a McDonald’s to come to our town. Nor should we have the complacency for them to become our “economic engine”.
We shouldn’t have to wait for another 11 years for commercial and retail development be contingent of a McDonald’s. Sugar Grove needs the leadership to put us on the right track and to keep us on that track for the seeable future.