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Sugar Grove candidates meet with residents

SUGAR GROVE – Candidates running in several Sugar Grove races, including village president, village board and library board, met with constituents Sunday at an open house organized by two candidates. 

Pat Graceffa, write-in candidate for the Sugar Grove Library Board, and Ed De Bartolo, who is also running for library board, hosted the open house held at the Sugar Grove Community House. 

Graceffa said she wanted to make sure voters had a chance to interact with candidates instead of listening to speeches. Several candidates showed up for the three-hour open house, including village president candidates Kevin Geary and incumbent Sean Michels.

Geary said if he's elected, his priorities would be to strive toward a more open and honest government, diversify the village's tax base by bringing in new business and encourage more public participation. He said he would like to see the village's meetings streamed online and archived for more transparency. He said he would also like to see a "world class" transportation system. 

Michels, who has served as village president for 14 years, said one of his top priorities if re-elected is to work on an I-88 and Route 47 interchange, diversifying the tax base by bringing in new business and finish building out housing subdivisions that haven't been completed. He said he also wants to revisit impact fee agreements and bring a Metra station to the area. 

Five Sugar Grove trustee candidates are running for three open seats in April. Stephanie Landorf, who is running for one of those seats, said if she's elected, she wants to look into using money from the defunct Prairie Parkway project to fund an I-88 interchange, improvements at Route 47 and Route 56, or widening Route 47 between Sugar Grove and Yorkville. She also pushed for better transparency by streaming videos of meetings online. 

"I think a lot of it is the time of day – it's hard to get to meetings," she said. "I'd like to see video put on the web. That's pretty much the biggest thing."

Gayle Deja-Schultz, who is also running for village trustee, said if she's elected, she would explore ways to streamline government processes. She said she would like to see responsible growth and better communication with residents, such as posting upcoming projects on the village's website or on social media. 

"I think a lot of times residents don't know about upcoming projects," she said. "It's always through the grapevine."

Incumbent Bob Bohler is seeking to retain his seat, which he has held 16 years. He said his goal if re-elected is to keep budgets in the black, adding that he thinks the village has positioned itself well during the last five years to move forward.

"We've done a lot to plan for the future, and I think the future's here," he said.

Tom Rowe, one of four candidates seeking the Sugar Grove Township Supervisor seat, said his focus if he's elected is to push for more youth and senior programming, and also reinstate a transportation program for seniors. He said it would also be beneficial to post meeting minutes and agendas on the township's website. 

John Guddendorf Jr., one of three candidates running for the Sugar Grove Fire District trustee position, said he wants to maintain the status quo because the fire district has done an "excellent" job with the budget. He said he wants to maintain the level of service the district offers.

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