Sugar Grove Village Trustee Kevin Geary speaks to the audience during his campaign kickoff fundraiser on Dec. 13 at Bliss Creek Golf Club in Sugar Grove. Geary will run for Village President against incumbent Sean Michels in the election on Tuesday, April 9. Courtesy Photo
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove village trustee Kevin Geary on Dec. 13 kicked off his bid for village president with a fundraiser held in the Pine Room at Bliss Creek Golf Club in Sugar Grove.
The fundraiser drew in 40 people, including Kane County Auditor Terry Hunt, Sugar Grove Village Board trustee David Paluch and Kane County Board member Melisa Taylor. Retired Kane County auditor William Keck emceed the event and also introduced Geary to the public in attendance.
“I was very happy with the turnout. You always want a couple more people to show up, but I was pleased overall,” Geary said. “Some people stopped in, chatted and then moved on to other parties.”
Kane County Board Chair Chris Lauzen was slated to attend the event, but had a scheduling conflict.
Geary, a 14-year presence on the Sugar Grove Village Board, will oppose incumbent Village President Sean Michels in the election on Tuesday, April 9, with early voting to begin in mid-March.
Geary’s campaign on Monday filed for the election, and now await the drawing to determine the order of candidate placement on the ballot, which will take place Friday, Jan. 4.
There will also be a town hall meeting to give candidates what Geary referred to as a “true temperature of what residents want their village to be.” The event will include an opportunity for attendees to ask questions and share their ideas.
“We’re shooting for a date near the middle or end of January,” Geary said.
Geary last week said that his campaign will run on the platform of offering “open and honest government in order to be accountable to the people served by that body,” and creating a business-friendly climate within the village.
“I believe the village has been onerous in some of its requirements toward local busnesses and new business,” he said. “Let’s say a business needs a variance or two. Older buildings can apply for a variance that takes the business from non-compliant to compliant, but Sugar Grove isn’t very liberal with variances. They aren’t given out often enough.”
Geary is also campaigning for government that he believes is more effective and efficient. He proposed the idea of looking at the village roster and finding opportunities to trim the budget. An example of this would be the decision to not backfill positions vacated because of reasons tied to retirement or other employment opportunities.
“That’s a decision that would need to be discussed by the village president and the board,” Geary said.
Geary believes the election race will affect his relationship with Michels on the Village Board.
“We have a difference of opinions, and I am vocal about my opinions when the board is in session,” he said.
According to Geary, one of the differences in opinion concerns the fate of money in the Prairie Parkway fund. He said discussions have suggested that the money should go toward the Route 47/I-88 interchange project. Geary would like to see the money instead go toward the improvement of the cloverleaf at the intersection of Routes 47 and 56. That improvement would include installation of a slip ramp near the cloverleaf, as well as widening the stretch of Route 47 between the cloverleaf and Kendall County to two lanes each way.
“I feel this is a better project because it’s a Route 30 project, and the funds were earmarked for a federal highway, which was supposed to be Prairie Parkway,” Geary said. “This way, it’s federal funds for federal roads, and we benefit from its widening. It could open up development for us, as well.”
The road toward realizing that vision kicked off last week with a campaign fundraiser that Jon Zahm, Geary’s campaign manager, deemed successful.
“The fundraiser, for me, fortified and strengthened the conviction that Sugar Grove wants to move in a different direction,” Geary said.