Sugar Grove Village Board-6 candidates for 3 positions

By on April 2, 2009

by Susan O’Neill

Bob Bohler
Bohler said he is running for re-election to the Sugar Grove Village Board because he wants to finish assisting with commercial and retail growth once the economy recovers.

He does not agree with reducing developer impact fees or the open space requirement, believing that development should pay for itself and open space is crucial to Sugar Grove’s quality of life. He would agree with trading open space within a development for land or cash to purchase it elsewhere.

Bohler has been the vice president and president of a corporation, and has served as a Sugar Grove trustee for 12 years. He said he understands the village’s processes and that it is important to have people with experience in how government works and how it pays for itself. He wants to continue the path the village is on.

During the past 12 years, the village has grown from 3,000 to 8,000 people while remaining financially healthy. With a 30-percent cash reserve, he said the village has managed its money well and has not relied upon impact fees or sales tax to provide the basic services to its residents.

The village has successfully planned for the future and has done a tremendous amount of preparation for new commercial and retail development, with road and other infrastructure improvements, Bohler said. In addition to the current Municipal Drive and Galena Boulevard extension, he wants to see Municipal Drive extended all the way to Wheeler Road.
He said the Route 47 and Interstate 88 interchange is important to additional commercial growth to the north.

He wants the village to become a certified community in disaster emergency management and to make the most of the opportunity to highlight Sugar Grove to the world during the Solheim Cup this year.

Mary Heineman
Heineman decided not to run when she thought the poor economy would slow things down in Sugar Grove for the next two years. She changed her mind when she realized some other candidates want to reduce developer impact fees and the amount of required open space for developments, which she does not agree with. She is currently running as a write-in candidate.

She said the board spent a lot of time to determine the cost of development and does not believe impact fees should be reduced. This money goes to other taxing bodies such as the school, which relies on the village and impacts residents’ property valuesl. She believes that if impact fees are reduced, services will be diminished or taxes will go up, and current residents will end up paying for new growth.

She believes open space is important, and she is willing to negotiate for land or cash to purchase it elsewhere.
Heineman said her strong financial and strategic planning background can help make the board more fiscally responsible and keep the focus on the long-term vision without sacrificing it for short-term gain.

Heineman thinks it is important not to panic during the current economic downturn. She believes that development will come back, but it will be much slower, and the village has to readjust its expectations and come up with a new business model and a more realistic vision.

The board has carefully planned for future growth and set standards that should not be compromised to encourage more residential growth, she said. Trustees need to work to solve current budget problems that will not create bigger problems in the long run, she said.

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

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.

She said she believes strongly in continuing to support the Kaneland School District and other taxing bodies that provide services within the community.

She has worked with Kane County officials to obtain the funding and support for the improvement of the Bliss-Merrill intersection. Work begins this spring to make the intersection safer for motorists.

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.

Tom Renk
After serving one term, Renk was defeated in 2003. He was appointed to serve on the Plan Commission, and then rejoined the board when he was appointed to fill trustee Perry Clark’s position when Clark resigned at the end of 2003. Renk was re-elected in 2005.

Renk said he is running for re-election because he enjoys serving citizens and being part of the creation of a larger, family-oriented community.

Sugar Grove’s fees are higher than those in surrounding communities, and developers have chosen to go elsewhere due to the high cost of doing business with the village, Renk said. Although he wants to protect citizens from paying for improvements, residents want the growth, and it is the village’s responsibility to find a median point, he said.

He said the 40-percent open space requirement might be OK with smaller developments. However, with 25 percent used up in streets and common ways, this only leaves 35 percent on which to build homes, which is not cost-effective, he said. He added there has to be common ground and some flexibility.

Renk said his accumulated experience of more than 25 years in business and as a local government official, both in Sugar Grove and Wauwatosa, Wis., puts him in a good position to serve the community. He said that with tough times ahead, experience counts and now is not the time to bring someone in who is not familiar with municipal government.

He said the most critical issue currently is how to make ends meet in this tough economy. With revenues from sales tax and building permits slowing down, he said the village needs to maintain its level of service to the residents in an intelligent way until the economy turns around.

He said he wants to try to diversify the housing mix so that families can come to Sugar Grove at all levels and would encourage the development of apartments. He wants to work for annexation of the Aurora Airport in order to reap the rewards of the commercial development in and around it.

He said he believes there are issues the village should be responsible for, such as police protection, storm water, water and sewer services, and fire protection. He said he thinks the village should take an active part in trying to resolve the problems in Mallard Point and to ensure that the residents of Settler’s Ridge continue to receive services.

He said the village needs to step in to maintain foreclosed property to maintain the integrity of the surrounding neighborhoods. He wants to work with the current developer bankruptcy issues and break the land into smaller and more useful parcels to make them feasible. He would approve smaller developments in the future.

He said he is against raising taxes.

He said he wants to grow the community in a coordinated manner, with a balance of residential, commercial and retail growth and a simplified approval process.

He wants to work with neighboring communities to develop the Interstate 88 and Route 47 interchange.

“I have been honored to serve the residents of Sugar Grove and I hope to continue to do so,” he said.

Joe Wolf
After serving one term, Wolf was defeated in 2007. He said his main goal in running again is to bring houses at a variety of price points into Sugar Grove. He wants to make sure there are some homes that a family of four with an income of less than $100,000 a year can afford.

He said he is in favor of reducing impact fees and bring more affordable housing to town; he wants homes that each family within its own economic position can afford. He said that Sugar Grove used to be a middle-class town, but most recent homes have been in the $400,000 to $500,000 range.

He said that with lower fees, there would be more housing, leading to more commercial development, which will bring in more sales tax to offset the lower fee structure.

He is in favor of being flexible with reducing the open space requirement.

Wolf said he was involved with his trade union for 30 years, serving as its president for four terms. He said that during that time, he helped negotiate quite a few contracts, demonstrating that he can work with people on his side or across the table.

He said he has been successful because he is willing to listen and present his side articulately and is willing to compromise for the good of all. He said these skills also make him an effective board member, with the ability to represent the residents of Sugar Grove.

He said that Sugar Grove has been business-“unfriendly,” and developers and other business owners have had continued problems dealing with some of the village staff. He said the village tried to protect itself from development excesses, but ended up strangling commercial growth.

He said that Sugar Grove needs a variety of restaurants and stores, not just the high-end centers like the Forest City development considered several years ago.

“But officials and staff need to be willing to change,” he said.

His recent accomplishments include helping to gain the Sugar Grove Board’s approval to participate in Ride in Kane, a transportation service for people with special needs. In addition, through his role on the airport advisory board, he helped open lines of communication with the Aurora Municipal Airport, he said.

He said his future goals include recommending increased funding for Ride in Kane to help more people, and working with the Village Board to bring about more consensus on issues affecting the village. A longer-term goal is to bring a Metra station to Sugar Grove.

“As times change, we need to change with the times,” he said. “You have to take a fresh look and be willing to change. Don’t fall in love with some of your own decisions.”

He said that with the struggling economy, it is unlikely that the housing and commercial market will rebound for another year or two. But he said there is much that can be done now that will allow the village to take advantage when the economy does rebound.

He said he wants to have an open dialogue during this election.

“If I don’t get elected because people don’t agree with my views, I still want my views to be heard,” he said. “That is more important than my being elected.”

Rick Montalto
Montalto ran for village trustee last term. He said he is running again because Sugar Grove seems stagnant, while other surrounding towns have a Walgreens and hardware stores. He said the streets in Sugar Grove are in bad shape, and the village does not seem interested in helping its own businesses. He said he thinks some trustees have been on the board for far too long; that they don’t have the ideas to move the village forward.

He said he does not think there is enough affordable housing in Sugar Grove, and that the village should concentrate on retail development to lower taxes. He said the 40 percent open space seems a little high; that the village should be flexible on its requirement.

Montalto said that his 30-plus years in law enforcement will enable him to provide valuable input for the emergency services that will be needed with additional retail and industrial growth. He said he is a good multi-tasker, having raised a family and worked full-time while pursuing his education.

He said he has dealt with people from all walks of life, from those that were homeless to professional people, and considers himself a good listener who works well with people. He said he and his family have devoted their lives to public service.

Montalto, a resident of Mallard Point, has experienced the drainage and flooding issues from a personal perspective. If elected, he would strive to resolve the village’s drainage issues, improve the road conditions within the village and work with the state and the county to improve their roads, and increase retail and industrial development.

He said he would look for additional ways to bring revenue into the village, such as implementing in-house adjudicated hearings for people who want to fight their traffic tickets. He said this would bring additional administrative fees to the village, instead of sharing them with the county and state.

He would work to change the things that make the village difficult to work with, making it more user-friendly, both to business as well as the general public.

He said he would like to televise the Village Board meetings, open up the lines of communication, and make the board accountable to the residents.

“I’m married to my high school sweetheart for 34 years,” he said. “I’m dependable. If I say I’ll be there, I will.”

David Paluch
Paluch said he is running because small business owners do not have a voice in Sugar Grove. He wants to make government more accessible and transparent. He wants to encourage more business and home development by making it easier to work with the village.

He said he is in favor of more affordable homes, where people can live for 20 to 30 years. He said Sugar Grove’s impact fees are too high. At $23,000 to $30,000, he said they are significantly higher than Wheaton at $10,000 and Yorkville at $19,000. He also believes the 40 percent open space requirement seems too high, especially with another 15 percent taken up in roads. He thinks the village should be more flexible.

Paluch said his work involves creating business solutions to help businesses grow. He also has had years of experience selling to the government, so he has many contacts at the county and state level. He said he has the ability to look at both sides of an issue, and can help change the things needed to help Sugar Grove’s businesses grow and thrive and improve the quality of life for its citizens.

He wants to make government more accessible and easier to work with. He would be more responsive to the needs of the businesses in town, such as being more flexible with what he said are unreasonable landscaping requirements, in some instances.

He said if elected to the board, he would make the village’s bidding process transparent, giving local businesses an opportunity to bid on projects within the village.

He would aggressively market the village to businesses on the fringe of Chicago that are currently paying sales taxes in the double digits. He said Sugar Grove has a lot to offer to businesses and that the village is losing a lot of opportunity for tax money and jobs.

He said he would like to bring in more retail and light industrial or manufacturing businesses, as well as professional offices, such as doctors or dentists.

He would also like the village to be more responsive to the needs of the citizens, such as with the drainage issue in Mallard Point. His goal is to have Sugar Grove be the place to live in Kane County. He said the key issues are transparency and accountability on the part of the village, creating a more business-friendly environment and working together with all governmental bodies.

“The government exists for people, not the other way around,” he said.

Bob Bohler
• 23 years in Sugar Grove
• 12 years on Village Board
• Occupation: Executive Sales, Aurora
Tri-State Fire Protection, former VP and
President, manufacturing company
• Education: Three years of college in
pre-medicine, additional coursework at
Waubonsee Community College,
National Institute for Certification in
Engineering Technologies (NICET) 2008
certification, Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) ISO100,
200 and 700 2008 certification
• Community involvement: Sugar Grove Corn
Boil fireworks 2002-present, Corn Boil
volunteer 1994-present, President, Rural
Kane County Girls Softball League
1994-1995, Founder, Sugar Grove
Soccer League 1994, Sugar Grove
Athletic Association Coach 1986-1987.
• Previous offices: Sugar Grove Lions Club
President 2004-present

Mary Heineman

• Life-long resident of the
Kaneland community
• 4 years on Village Board
• Occupation: Corporate Secretary/
Treasurer, family business, Sync Energy,
Inc. Prior experience includes close to 20
years in corporate strategic planning and
business development roles in Fortune 50
consumer products companies
• Education: B.S. Accounting, U. of Illinois
1985, CPA certification 1985, MBA North-
western University’s JL Kellogg Graduate
School 1991.

Tom Renk
• 11 years in Sugar Grove
• 10 years on Village Board
• Occupation: Co-owner, Association
Enterprise Management Co.
• Education: B.S. Political Science and
Economics and one year law school,
Marquette University Law School.
• Community involvement: Board of
Directors, Fox Valley Girl Scouts, active
member, St. Catharine-St. Drexel Church,
six months on Sugar Grove Plan
Commission, volunteer, 10 Sugar Grove
Corn Boils, led committee to recommend
Sugar Grove acquisitions to Kane County
Forest Preserve.
• Previous offices: 4 years as alderman for
Wauwatosa, Wis., five years on Zoning
Board of Appeals, Wauwatosa, Wis.

Joe Wolf
• 48 years in Sugar Grove
• 4 years on Village Board
• Occupation: Retired tool and dye maker;
union official with the United Auto
Workers for 30 years, four terms as union
president for the local UAW.
• Education: High School graduate and
trade school
• Community involvement: Kaneland School
District Facilities Planning Committee,
Kaneland Foundation, Ride in Kane since
inception, 2005, Aurora Municipal Airport
advisory committee 2005 to present,
Active member of the Sugar Grove
UM Church for the past 40 years.
• Previous offices: Kaneland School Board
14.5 years, three years as president,
village trustee 2003-2007.

Rick Montalto
• 15 years in Sugar Grove
• Occupation: 31 years with suburban police
department; retired from law enforcement
side in June 2008
• Education: Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s
Degree, History and Political Science,
Master’s Degree, Management and
Organizational Behavior
• Community involvement: Coached youth
sports in Sugar Grove, AYSO soccer,
baseball and basketball; middle-school
and high-school music and sports
boosters; Public Safety Committee, Chair,
Police Commission; active member, St.
Gall’s and St. Katharine-Drexel churches.

David Paluch

• 12 years in Sugar Grove
• Occupation: Business account executive,
Comcast; previous positions with
Continental Cable Vision, Nextel and
US Cellular.
• Education: BA Fine Arts in radio and sound.
• Community involvement: Chair for United
Cerebral Palsy for Miller distributor;
volunteer for US Cellular United Way;
active member, Village Bible Church;
Community House volunteer.
The race for Sugar Grove Village Board
is evenly split between incumbents and
candidates not currently on the board.
They would each like to see more
diversified growth within the village, but
have differences in opinion as to how to
get there.