Heineman changes mind about running

By on March 13, 2009

Current village trustee to run as write-in candidate
by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove village trustee Mary Heineman said she thought the next couple of years would be a good time to step away from the Village Board to concentrate on her family and other interests.

New development had significantly slowed. The economy seemed likely to take some time to recover, and the Village Board would be focused on maintaining its budget and providing basic services.

However, she said when she saw the statements of some of the other candidates and their platforms, she decided she had to stay on the board, if she could.

Heineman, who has served on the board for the past four years, will run for re-election as a write-in candidate in the April 7 election.

“I realize it’s a long shot,” she said.

Heineman said what is most troubling to her is the desire on the part of some candidates to reduce developer impact fees as a way to attract more affordable housing to the village. She said she is concerned that if this were to happen, the cost of development would fall to the current residents.

“Either services will be diminished or taxes will go up,” she said.

She is also concerned what the decrease in fees might mean for the other taxing bodies to which the village provides revenue, such as the School District.

“The schools rely on us, and we rely on them,” she said.

Heineman said village trustees and staff, during the past several years, have studied the costs of development to determine what they thought were fairly accurate projections. With the slowdown in growth, some candidates have said the fees should be scaled back in order to encourage more development.

She said many factors have affected the pace of development, including the lack of water and sewer to most retail areas, the significant road improvements required to build along state roads, such as routes 47 and 56, and the cost of land.

“To say the reason that development dried up is the impact fees is taking a narrow view,” she said.

She is also concerned about some of the candidates who want to relax the open space requirements with new development. Currently, the village requires 40 percent of each new development be saved for open space.

She said that while not every community needs the entire 40 percent, a cash requirement in lieu of open space could be used to purchase it elsewhere in the village for everyone to enjoy.

She is convinced that with the extension of Municipal Drive and Galena Boulevard and water and sewer services out to the industrial park, the village will be in a much better position to support additional growth when the economy does pick up.

“Development will come back, but it will be much slower,” she said. “The village has to readjust its expectations. We will have to come up with a new business model, a realignment of our vision.”

She said that many things will have to sort themselves out with the state and the economy in general.

“We are a society that wants everything quickly,” she said. “Sometimes it’s OK to take your time and get it right.”

Heineman said that as a write-in candidate, her name will not appear on the ballot. However, voters will have the option to select “write-in” candidate and enter her name manually using the keyboard.

With the addition of Heineman, there are six candidates running for three openings on the Village Board. The other candidates are incumbents Bob Bohler and Tom Renk, former trustee Joe Wolf, Rick Montalto and David Paluch.

Meet the Candidates
7 p.m. Thursday, March 19
Sugar Grove Community House
141 Main Street, Sugar Grove
Candidates for:
Sugar Grove Village President,
Village Board,
Sugar Grove Library District Board,
Township Board, Community House Board and Kaneland School Board.