Tag Archives: Bill Durrenberger

Kaneland brings out alumni for soccer

The seventh annual Kaneland High School Alumni soccer game was held this past Saturday at the high school’s varsity soccer field. Many soccer alumni and some current players enjoyed a friendly game on a beautiful summer evening. Any current or former Kaneland soccer players interested in playing in next year’s game and are not already on the contact list should call Bill Durrenberger at (630) 466-9085.

Kaneland Almuni White team (above) members included Nick Williams (back, left to right), Matt VanderSande, Eric Griesinger, Chris Feldott and Ryan Straughn. Santiago Tovar (front, left to right), Kevin Durrenberger, player/coach Max Andrews, Evelio Blanco and Scott Thompson. Courtesy Photo

Kaneland Almuni Blue team members included Josh Williams (back, left to right), Spencer Johnson, Josh Hill, Cooper Andrews, Mike Giese and coach Joe Garlinsky. Joe Garlinsky (front, left to right), Kaitlin Roy, Emily Heimerdinger, Samantha Wantuch and Justin Garlinsky. Courtesy Photo

SG Library Board votes in favor of mediation with former director

Measure opens the door to possible return of Hughes
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Library Board at its meeting on Oct. 13 voted 4-3 in favor of mediation between board trustees and former library director Beverly Holmes Hughes.

Board Secretary Bill Durrenberger, Treasurer Daniel Herkes, and trustees Anthony Oliver and Julie Wilson voted yes to mediation with Hughes, while President Joan Roth, Vice President Art Morrical and Trustee Bob Bergman voted no.

The decision to mediate came less than three months after Roth, Morrical, Bergman and Wilson voted to approve Hughes’ firing on July 14. Durrenberger and Herkes both voted against firing Hughes. Oliver was not a trustee at the time.

Several members of the public in attendance at the Sugar Grove Community House, where the Library Board meeting was held because of a scheduling conflict, asked the four board members during public comment to put aside their differences and mediate with Hughes, and also spoke at length about the library’s current financial situation. Resident Mari Johnson said the board could get things back on track—and mend its bond to the community—by making compromises and committing to mediation.

“Working to regain the public trust will not be an easy task, but is something that should be on the minds of each board member. You will not be able to move the library forward without the assistance of the public,” Johnson said.

Past Library Board president Douglas Hartman also spoke, chastising the board for bringing the library to “the brink of bankruptcy.”

“The community is owed an exact and specific explanation of the new direction you’re taking this library,” Hartman said. “Is it closing for more hours, more days, weeks (and) months? Is it taking it out on the overworked and underpaid staff? Be responsible, mature trustees and mediate this fiasco. Put it behind us. It is way past time for this board to put the taxpayers first. No more undefined new directions. No more throwing away money we don’t have and will not get. No more guesswork; no more maybes. Start tonight and put things right.”

Prior to the vote for mediation, the board went into executive session for 75 minutes. Durrenberger also announced that interim Library Director Marilyn Boria had voluntarily reduced her hourly pay from $72 to $50 in order to put in more hours for the library and help protect library staff from cutbacks.

“She didn’t want anyone to say anything … but you can’t let that go without public recognition,” Durrenberger said.

Once the meeting had reconvened, Durrenberger made it clear that the vote for mediation simply meant the board would talk to Holmes about whether or not she’d come back under the terms agreed to by both sides.

“I think there are people that would mediate for us at no charge, and I don’t think the delay would be that great. I think (mediation) is what we should’ve done all along, and I don’t think it’s too late to do it now,” he said. “It is what the public wants at this point in time, so that’s why I feel very strongly that (this) is what we should do.”

Oliver and Herkes both echoed Durrenberger’s sentiment. Wilson said she could see both sides of the issue between members of the board and Hughes, and was concerned with the library’s ongoing costs.

Library Board approves appointment of Oliver as board trustee

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Library Board at its meeting on Sept. 8 voted 6-0 to approve the appointment of Anthony Oliver as board trustee.

Oliver, 66, is the vice president of Capaul-Oliver Services, a company specializing in the design and construction of library, school and healthcare projects. He had been consistently vocal during the public comment sections of Library Board meetings ever since the board approved the termination of former Director Beverly Holmes Hughes in mid-July. His appointment will fill the board seat vacated by former trustee Sabrina Malano last June.

Library Board Vice President Art Morrical, during the discussion period prior to the vote to appoint Oliver, said that Anthony was the best candidate the Library Board had.

“He has tremendous experience with buildings, with libraries. He’s our best choice,” he said.

Board Secretary Bill Durrenberger then responded that, with due respect to Oliver, he believed there was no one on the face of the planet who is more qualified or deserving of a position on the board than former Sugar Grove Library Friends President Pat Graceffa. Graceffa was one of nine applicants for the board position.

“As far as I am concerned, if Pat wants a seat on this board, she should be given that seat by acclamation,” Durrenberger said. “But that’s not going to happen with the board as it’s presently constituted.”

Durrenberger was also complimentary of Oliver.

“Anthony, I’ve read your application, and certainly you’ve got a great background in libraries, and you’ve been coming down here and sitting with us during this troubled time for the Sugar Grove (Library), so you certainly appear to be qualified to me, and that being the case, I intend to support your nomination tonight,” he said.

Oliver was also sworn in during the meeting.

“It is with deep pleasure that I accept the honor of being appointed to the office of trustee of Sugar Grove Public Library District. (It’s) my desire that I also have the trust and support of the taxpayers and the patrons of this library,” Oliver said. “I will do my very best to represent you in an open and wonderful way. This library family is in disarray and very angry at each other for various reasons, including the firing of our director of over 20 years, Beverly Holmes Hughes. I do not know all the reasons why the board considered it so important to dismiss Mrs. Holmes Hughes at this time, but I do know … I don’t think there’s gonna be any resignations anytime soon.”

Oliver then said it was time to hire the very best library director to lead the Sugar Grove Library into the future. He called for a compensation package to be offered to Hughes to properly thank her for all the years of leadership she offered the library, and also thanked the Friends of the Library for their devotion and hard work over the years, asking them to stay in the community.

“Your organization is so very much needed and appreciated,” he said.

The unanimous vote to approve Oliver’s appointment drew applause from members of the public in attendance—a group that has not had much to cheer for since Hughes’ termination two months ago.

“Anthony’s background in library services makes him the ideal person to fill the vacancy,” said former Sugar Grove Library Friends member Ken Wiesner, who is the founder of the Citizens for a Better Sugar Grove political action group. “I am very pleased Trustee Morrical nominated an outspoken critic of the board. Hopefully this is an indication that he is finally starting to listen to the Library District residents.”

A break from the pattern

Library Board releases statement about firing Hughes; conflicts continue among board
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Library Board’s meeting on Aug. 25 began the same way as every Library Board meeting has since Beverly Holmes Hughes was terminated on July 14—extensive public comment sections, silence from the four board members who voted to terminate Hughes, and requests from those in attendance for the four board members to resign.

This Library Board meeting was different, however, as the board finally released a statement regarding Hughes’ termination, and also made a motion to cut all ties with the FOIA officer they were scheduled to approve.

The evening ended with trustees Bill Durrenberger and Daniel Herkes—acting as citizens, not board members—speaking to frustrated residents about how Sugar Grove can restore peace and order to its Library Board, which has been under the microscope the last month and a half.

Board explains their rationale for firing Hughes
Sugar Grove residents have been demanding an explanation from the Library Board for its decision to terminate former director Beverly Holmes Hughes on July 14.

And after four board meetings and more than a month of silence from Board President Joan Roth, Vice President Art Morrical, and Trustees Bob Bergman and Julie Wilson—the four who approved the termination of Hughes—Sugar Grove residents finally got their answer.

Following an executive session at the end of the initial board meeting, Trustee Bill Durrenberger, acting as board secretary, read a prepared statement on the board’s behalf. Durrenberger said his strong preference would be for the statement to come from the four board members who voted to approve the firing of Hughes.

“This is a library trustee statement concerning termination of the Library Director,” Durrenberger read. “Last month, Sugar Grove Public Library District Trustees Roth, Morrical, Bergman and Wilson voted to terminate the employment of Library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes. Following the termination, those trustees have struggled with balancing the community’s right to know the reasons for Beverly’s dismissal with Beverly’s rights of privacy. They apologize for their tardiness in explaining their reasons.

“Their reasons for the decision include their belief that, A) Beverly did not provide financial information requested by them, B) Beverly made expenditures of funds without seeking board approval, C) Beverly did not provide programming as suggested by those trustees.

“Over the last few years, there have been difficulties and increased tensions between the four trustees and Beverly. Working relationship deteriorated to the point that the four trustees felt that change was necessary.

“Trustee Durrenberger and Trustee Herkes vehemently disagree with the majority’s reasons, did not vote for termination and do not believe termination was in the best interest of the Library District.

“Prospectively, the trustees are committed to hiring a new library director where the library director and the trustees establish a clear understanding as to their respective roles in providing quality library services to the Sugar Grove community. End of statement.”

The audience’s scorn towards the four board members erupted almost instantly after Durrenberger finished reading the prepared statement.

“Shame on you, Julie and Bob … shame on you,” resident Pat Graceffa said.

“It was all a manipulated move by Joan and Art, and you guys should be ashamed of yourselves,” resident Mari Johnson said. “I hope you guys can all look at yourselves in the mirror.”

“Joan, you are a poor excuse for a library president,” another resident stated.

Board fires FOIA officer
Earlier in the meeting, it was brought to the attention of many in attendance that Roth’s candidate for the board’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) officer position, Linda J. (L.J.) Gleysteen, a former employee of the West Aurora School District, had recently pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery. The charge stemmed from a February incident in which the then-Jefferson Middle School teacher sprayed a seventh-grade student in the eyes with a solution used to clean whiteboards.

Durrenberger addressed the public on the matter and then focused his questions toward the board, raising the issue of whether or not Gleysteen’s background was sufficient enough for the board to not work with her. Durrenberger said he believed her history was indeed relevant, and then turned his attention to the board president.

“Here’s the thing,” Durrenberger said to Roth. “You and I talked on the telephone about a week ago; that’s when you first told me you’d hired her. Remember that? You didn’t tell me her name—said she was L.J. or something like that. You didn’t mention one word about her background … not one word.”

Durrenberger said he had first encountered Gleysteen the previous Tuesday, when he had a FOIA request to respond to and thought to seek out the new FOIA officer. According to Durrenberger, he introduced himself to Gleysteen, at which time she simply introduced herself back as “L.J.” Durrenberger said he tried to get L.J. to tell him her full name, but she wouldn’t.

“Now, it’s obvious to me, Joan, what’s going on here: you and Linda were trying to hide her background from me … the two of you were. Now, you do understand that I am a trustee. I’m not just someone up here taking notes and doing minutes. I am a trustee—you do understand that, don’t you?”

“Absolutely,” Roth said.

“So you and Linda were trying to hide a relevant factor from me—a trustee,” Durrenberger said.

Durrenberger said he could not vote to keep Gleysteen as the board’s FOIA officer because it would be “encouraging this kind of deviousness and rewarding this kind of deviousness.” Durrenberger also stated that he might have at least considered Gleysteen as a candidate if Roth had been truthful with him about her criminal background.

“Under these circumstances, I am vehemently against rewarding your deviousness and Linda’s deviousness by continuing to have her work for this library,” he said.

Herkes echoed Durrenberger’s sentiments and added that the Gleysteen hiring would bring more bad publicity to a Library Board that has been under intense scrutiny since the Holmes firing.

Durrenberger then made a motion for a vote to terminate the board’s relationship with Gleysteen. The board voted 4-1 in favor of termination, with Roth voting present, and Trustee Bergman voting no.

Searching for a solution
After the board meeting, Durrenberger and Herkes met with residents in attendance across the street from the library, and stated that they were speaking as individual citizens, not Library Board members.

Durrenberger told the gathered crowd that the ultimate solution to their problems with certain Library Board members is to have solid candidates run for election and then vote them into office when seats come up for re-election.

“The problem is the next election … doesn’t come up until 2013,” he said. “That’s a long time from now. God only knows what’s going to happen between now and then. The problem is, how do we keep this interest going over a year from now?”

The next Library Board meeting will take place Thursday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m.

Decision’s impact continues

SG Library Friends disband; public demands board’s explanation for director firing
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Library Friends have decided to call it a day.

Less than a month after the Library Board’s dismissal of Director Beverly Holmes Hughes, the Library Friends have chosen to follow Hughes’ exit. Library Friends President Pat Graceffa announced the group’s decision to fold at the Library Board meeting on Aug. 11, which only increased the level of drama present that evening, as several members of the public in attendance voiced their frustration with the behavior and actions of Library Board President Joan Roth, Vice President Art Morrical, and trustees Julie Wilson and Bill Bergman—the four who approved Hughes’ termination on July 14.

Graceffa, speaking as a taxpayer during the meeting, called for the resignation of all four of the members with the reasoning that the board has yet to issue an official statement regarding the decision to terminate Hughes. Graceffa also criticized the board for “hiding behind saying ‘(their) attorney has told (them) not to comment,’” and had equally terse words for those who have spread “vicious rumors” around the community about why Holmes was fired.

“If you don’t know the real reason for the termination, then shut up,” Graceffa said, drawing immediate applause from members of the public in attendance.

Graceffa said she believes what Roth, Morrical, Bergman and Wilson have done to the community is unforgivable.

“It’s not even about them firing Beverly anymore, it’s about (them) not answering questions, not running meetings properly and putting those two board members (Wilson and Bergman) on the board in the way that they did-both of them being former board members who didn’t choose to run for re-election. It’s just their attitude … their attitude towards taxpayers. They feel like they just don’t have to answer any questions.

“The residents are letting the board know that they need to clean up their act and do a better job,” she said.

The Sugar Grove Library Friends made the decision to disband during their meeting on Aug. 8, at which point most of the group’s members were resigning.

“We take care of the Library Friends used bookstore, and we’ve had a lot of people resign; some of them have not given any reason, and others have told us it is because the library director was fired and they couldn’t support the board,” Graceffa said. “There’s no way we can fill 49 hours of volunteer work with just a few volunteers remaining.”

Graceffa wasn’t the only attendee requesting the resignation of the four board members, as Village Trustee Mari Johnson, past president Douglas Hartman and several others called for Roth, Morrical, Bergman and Wilson to step down during the public comment portion of the meeting. One person even called the current Library Board “a joke.” Village Trustee Kevin Geary implored the board to give a reason for Holmes’ termination or resign, while Sugar Grove Township Official Dan Nagle called the actions of the four “upsetting.”

Former board trustee Sabrina Malano also spoke during public comment, requesting that the board make a statement regarding the Hughes firing. Malano then defended her decision to help re-appoint Bergman and Wilson in June, claiming she did not know of the board’s intention to terminate Hughes at the time.

“Members of the public in attendance (were) out of order,” Morrical said. Morrical declined to comment further, citing legal advisement from the Library Board’s attorney.

Joan Roth could not be reached for comment.

Board Trustee Bill Durrenberger, who, along with Trustee Dan Herkes, voted against the termination of Hughes, also declined to comment. However, Durrenberger issued a statement last week, stating,“This is not a minor personnel issue; what the board has done is equivalent to the nuns kicking Mother Teresa out of the convent. An explanation is also required to protect a good person’s reputation.”

• According to Durrenberger, the board’s discontent with Holmes stemmed from three areas:
• Some or all of the trustees wanted to see different or additional programming, which Hughes was not providing despite the board’s request that she do so
• All four trustees claimed to have experienced difficulty in getting Hughes to provide them with financial and other information that was requested, in a timely manner or in the form that had been requested.
• All four trustees claim there were instances when Hughes made substantial expenditures or transfers of library funds without adequately informing the board in advance or thoroughly explaining the matter to the board after the fact. This is not to say that Hughes acted in an illegal or improper fashion; the board just took issue with Hughes supposedly not explaining or discussing the matter with them.

Graceffa said she understood that the Library Board wasn’t going to answer questions about Hughes’ termination during the meeting, but the board was made aware of certain questions during its meeting on July 21, and didn’t have answers to those questions, or even a prepared statement, at the meeting last Thursday.

“The people who came and asked questions at the last meeting were people I didn’t even know, so those were true library users there, and I think they deserve an answer,” she said.

Graceffa also said she wonders who will pay all the legal expenses that will be incurred, as well as the search for a new library director.

“To me, those are funds that could’ve been going towards buying books, buying DVDs, having programs … I just don’t think this was well thought out,” she said.

You can now add a new interim library director to the list of expenses, as current Interim Director Arlene Kaspik recently announced that she will step down from her position later this week. A special Library Board meeting to discuss a replacement interim director had been scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 17.

Letter: Library director firing explained

At its July 14, 2011 meeting, the Sugar Grove Public Library Board of Trustees, by a 4 to 2 vote, terminated the employment of Director Beverly Holmes Hughes. I was one of the two trustees voting against this termination. I have refrained from commenting out of respect for my fellow trustees, but with the expectation that an explanation would be provided.

The public is entitled to the explanation that they have demanded. This is not a minor personnel issue; what the board has done is equivalent to the nuns kicking Mother Teresa out of the convent. An explanation is also required to protect a good person’s reputation.

I have heard comments concerning the reasons for the board’s actions, many of which are vicious, ugly rumors. I can no longer sit idly by while my friend is hurt by these absurd remarks. I feel forced at this time to provide the explanation that the four trustees should be providing, as I have promised the community I would do.

It is my understanding that my four fellow trustees had reasons that fall into three general categories. First of all, these trustees would like different/additional programming that Mrs. Hughes was not providing despite their suggestions that she do so. For example, Board President Joan Roth has stated at several meetings that she would like to see more reading programs for first- through sixth-grade children. I have been told that on one occasion a volunteer wanted to initiate a particular program at the library, which program the trustees wanted but Mrs. Hughes would not allow.

Second, it is my understanding that the four trustees felt that they had had difficulty in the past getting Mrs. Hughes to provide them with certain financial and other information that they were requesting, in a timely manner or in the form requested by the trustees.

Third, the four trustees apparently feel that on an occasion or two, Mrs. Hughes made substantial expenditures or transfers of library funds without adequately informing the board in advance or properly explaining the matter to the board after the fact. If I am understanding my fellow trustees correctly, they are not saying that Mrs. Hughes’s actions were illegal or improper in any way; their complaint is that Mrs. Hughes did not fully explain or discuss the matter with them.

There are, of course, two sides to every story. In the three preceding paragraphs I am telling only one side—the side of the four trustees voting for termination—because that is my primary reason for making this statement—to speak for them because they refuse to speak for themselves. I am not going to go beyond that at this point in time, because to do so would make this statement unduly lengthy.

I have tried very hard in this statement to accurately state the reasons that I believe caused my four fellow trustees to terminate the employment of Mrs. Hughes. Of course, anytime one person speaks for another, there is a good possibility that something will not be complete or accurate. In this situation, to the extent that any of my four fellow trustees objects to anything in this statement, they have absolutely no reason to do so. They could have—and should have—spoken for themselves by now and if they had done so, then I would not be issuing this statement.

I want to make one point very clear: nothing in this statement should be interpreted as suggesting that the board has done anything illegal in terminating the employment of Mrs. Hughes. I certainly don’t believe that to be the case. Mrs. Hughes was an “at will” employee, and the board had the right to terminate her for any reason or for no reason at all. I understand that that is the law. And I also understand that these decisions are made by majority vote and that the number 4 is higher than the number 2.

But as my friend Jerry Murphy so wisely stated in his public comment at our July 28 board meeting, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should. In terminating the employment of Beverly Holmes Hughes the Sugar Grove Public Library Board of Trustees has, in my opinion, made a monumental mistake. Mrs. Hughes ran this library like a well-oiled, finely-tuned piece of precision machinery, and now she is gone.

We will see what the future holds, but at present, particularly in light of developments at the last night’s board meeting (Aug. 11, 2011), things do not look rosy.

Bill Durrenberger
Sugar Grove Public Library District

Hughes fired by SG Library Board

Photo: Beverly Homes Hughes, accepting the Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year in 2010, was terminated as Sugar Grove Library Director July 14 by a 4-2 vote by the Sugar Grove Library Board. The board has yet to release a statement as to the reason behind the termination. File Photo

2010 Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year let go with no official reason provided
By Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove’s next library director will have some pretty big shoes to fill.

Beverly Holmes Hughes, who has served as library director for the last 21 years, saw her employment terminated by the Library Board during its regular meeting on July 14. The board voted 4-2 on the matter, with President Joan Roth, Vice President Art Morrical, and trustees Julie Wilson and Bob Bergman voting in favor of letting Hughes go.

Trustees Bill Durrenberger and Daniel Herkes voted against firing Hughes.

Hughes, who was named Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year in July 2010, said she preferred to not comment on the firing, but did say she was surprised by the board’s decision to terminate her employment.

“I was told that the Library Board wants to move in a new direction,” she said.

Holmes wasn’t the only person shocked by the board’s decision. Sugar Grove Trustee Thomas Renk expressed his disapproval of the Library Board’s decision during the village’s regular Village Board meeting on Tuesday.

“I think the Library Board made a big mistake,” he said.

Durrenberger said he wasn’t ready to talk about Hughes’ dismissal, but did say that a press release may be issued at some point.

“We’re currently beginning the search for a new library director,” he said.

Art Morrical could not be reached for comment.

In the meantime, the board has hired Arlene Kaspik, who was library director for the McHenry Public Library from May 1991 until her retirement in June 2007, as interim director while the board searches for a new, full-time library director.

Letter: To the Sugar Grove Library community

The Sugar Grove Public Library Board of trustees, along with the staff of the Sugar Grove Library and the Friends of the Sugar Grove Library, have decided that a referendum for operating funds not be on the April 2011 ballot, due to difficult economic times for the patrons and residents of Sugar Grove.

We feel strongly that we must recognize the economic strains on our community. The decision to wait until there is a more opportune time to run a successful referendum campaign addresses the financial constraints of our residents and the community understanding of how those additional library dollars would be useful.

There are many that wish the library could, and would, offer more to the community in terms of hours, collections and services. There are many that are without the resources to help financially support paying more for the library. Therefore, in good faith, we will postpone our desire to raise revenues for operating our library. At this time we are doing our best at providing hours and services while we work to balance keeping expenditures lean and library experiences rich.

We invite you to visit the library, patronize The Book Nook Cafe and support our Library Friends fundraising efforts.

Art Morrical, Sabrina Malano,
Julie Wilson, Robert Bergman,
Bill Durrenberger, Sheree Novotny,
Joan Roth
Sugar Grove Public Library
Board of Trustees

Residents upset over Sugar Grove water bill fee

by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove—Residents upset to learn of a processing fee for their water and sewer bills told the village they were not happy with its decision to penalize residents who do not use the village’s automatic debit system.

“I pay cash,” Tom Cesario said. “How much better can you do than cash?”

With fewer staff to process payments for water and sewer services, the village came up with a plan it thought would solve the problem—charge people $1 extra if they do not choose to sign on to an automatic withdrawal from their checking account to pay their bill.

The plan was supposed to help to pay for the additional staff time it takes to process a payment by check or cash, as well as to encourage people to use the streamlined electronic approach. And it has worked.

Although the system has been in place for years, less than 25 percent of the 4,100 residents who pay for village water currently use the automatic debit. With the threat of an additional $1 added to their bill, another 150 signed up within the last month.

But some older residents and those who don’t trust technology do not feel the additional charge is fair. Bill Durrenberger told the board on Tuesday that he felt he was being strong-armed.

Even some of the trustees are not in favor of the extra charge.

“Bill, I agree with you,” trustee Bob Bohler said. “I don’t trust the electronic payments. I personally pay by check everywhere.”

“Why should somebody be punished because they’re not computer savvy?” trustee Kevin Geary asked.

Board members on Tuesday decided that instead of charging those who don’t sign up for the automatic withdrawal the additional $1, everyone will be charged an additional 50 cents on their water bills and 50 cents on their sewer bills. Those who use the automatic service will have $1 deducted from their bill.

Currently, all customers receive a water bill in the mail from the village. Two weeks later, the amount listed on the bill is automatically deducted from their checking account. The process saves staff time to post the payments, as well as eliminating the return envelope for people who pay by check.

“It is working,” trustee Melisa Taylor said. “We need to reward the people who are not writing checks.”

The measure was passed, with Geary voting no.

Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said that the water and sewer funds are self-sufficient funds, and the costs associated with these services, such as chemicals to treat the water, need to be paid for through fees.

The village also voted to raise the rates by 7 percent starting next year.

Village rate, fee increases (Effective June 1)
Water rates
Base rates of $7.40 a month will go up to $7.92, $8.42 with an
additional 50 cent processing fee
Water usage rates
Rates of $2.75 per 1,000 gallons will increase to $2.94
Rates of $2.76 per 1,000 gallons will increase to $2.95
Sewer rates
Base rates of $8.10 will go up to $8.67, $9.17 with an additional
50 cent processing fee
Refuse rates
Monthly refuse rates will increase by 80 cents, from $18.75 to $19.55
Permit and inspection fees
A 5 percent average increase across-the-board
Compliance ticket fees
The same amount will be charged for first offenses as is currently
charged for second and third offenses, for violations such as
overnight parking ($25), underage consumption or possession of
alcohol by a minor ($300), and possession of drug paraphernalia ($300).

Letter: In support of Michels, Heineman and Bohler

I am writing in support of Sean Michels for re-election as President of the Village of Sugar Grove, and also in support of Mary Heineman (as a write-in candidate) and Bob Bohler for re-election to the trustee positions that they presently hold.

I have never written a letter like this, or taken any active part in assisting anyone seeking an elective office. I have simply voted for the candidates of my choice, and let things go at that. But things are substantially different for me with regard to our upcoming municipal election here in Sugar Grove. In addition to writing this letter, I find myself going door-to-door for these three fine people, talking to my neighbors and friends and others in the community, passing out literature, playing yard signs and more.

All elections are important, of course, but our Sugar Grove election this year is particularly so. Our current economic recssion has halted growth in much of our country, Sugar Grove included. We know this will eventually pass, and when it does, the growth will begin again. We need to make sure that wise, sensible people with solid, genuine connections and concern for our town will be guiding us at that time. This election is also unusually important because we have a contest for the office of President of our community. The winner will have tremendous influence over the future of Sugar Grove; we must pick the best person for this important position.

My wife and I have lived in this wonderful village for the past 19 years. We have raised our four sons here, putting them through the Kaneland schools, local scouting and sports activities, etc. I’ve been privileged to have had many opportunities to serve as a scout leader and a soccer and baseball coach over the years. In addition, since June 2003, I have had an office in the village for my small business. My father was a career Army officer, and consequently I moved every year or two while growing up, attending 10 different schools by the time I graduated from high school. For most of my life, I have dearly wished for a “hometown.” I have one now, and perhaps because of my past, I love and appreciate and care about this place more than I can adequately express.

It is because of my love for this community, and the special importance of this particular election—and one other factor—that I have suddenly changed from a political couch potato who merely votes, into a determined, independent advocate for those candidates who I believe will best serve us in the future.

The additional factor that got me up off the couch and out into the streets is the fact that I know both Sean Michels and his opponent fairly well—particularly with regard to those factors that are most relevant and important to the office of President of our village. By any measure you might choose—a true connection with our town and a genuine concern for its future; the necessary experience and ability; an appropriate vision for development; personal integrity and character—Sean Michels is clearly and substantially the superior candidate.

Sean Michels is a good and decent man, with long-standing, deep and true connections with Sugar Grove. He has lived in the Kaneland area since 1969, attending Kaneland schools from which he graduated in 1981. He attended Waubonsee Community College and was recently recognized by that institution as one of its 40 top graduates. He has resided in Sugar Grove with his wife and four children (who attend our Kaneland schools) for the past 19 years, and he has absolutely no intention of going anywhere else after this election has concluded, win or lose. He has served as president of our village for the past nine years, during which time Sugar Grove has received numerous awards and recognitions.

Our village is in excellent condition and remains a truly great place to live. Sean loves this town as much as I do, and his desire to continue as our President is based upon his genuine concern for its welfare. I have never doubted for an instant his good intentions or his feelings of caring for our community. Sugar Grove is as much a part of him as it is of any other person.

I got to know Sean’s opponent during his recent tenure as the Director of the Sugar Grove Economic Development Corporation while that agency was located in the same building as my business. His office was right across the hall from mine. I saw him several times a week for the past several years, and I have always had a very cordial relationship with him. As generally happens in such situations, we had many conversations over the years about a lot of different issues. Also, I have numerous clients and friends who have had dealings of various sorts with him over the years. I know the man—and I know about the man—quite well.

All of us who live in Sugar Grove can agree that our recent growth has been concentrated in residential development, and that we now need to work on balancing that with other appropriate and desirable development. But the approach of Sean’s opponent (and the trustee candidates that support him and are critical of our present leaders) would be to lower the impact fees and open space requirements that we have worked so hard to put in place at the present, appropriate levels; say “Come on down” to every residential developer within 500 miles; and grow the population of this nice, still relatively small and quiet community as soon as possible in order to attract commercial and retail businesses. On numerous occasions in recent years, I’ve heard Sean’s opponent say, “To get more businesses, we need more rooftops.”

We don’t need more rooftops. We’ve got plenty for now. And once the economy picks up, Settler’s Ridge alone will increase the size of the village all that we need for the near term.

What we really need are experienced, intelligent people like Sean Michels, Bob Bohler and Mary Heineman, who have common sense and a genuine concern for, and connection with, our village, to consider very carefully all future proposed development in our area. We should not—we must not—rush to grow as fast as possible. Growth of all kinds is on its way; we will get to that, whether we want it or not. What we must do while this is occurring is to take charge of this growth and control it in a manner that preserves the essence of this great village that has grown so much in recent years, precisely because folks recognize what a desirable place this is to live.

To those of you who have some dissatisfaction with Sean Michels or Bob Bohler or Mary Heineman, let me say this—I also have not agreed with everything that has taken place in our village in recent years. But we must keep in mind that elected officials attempting to do right by their constituents make easy targets for our criticism. Human nature being what it is, it’s a simple matter for us to complain that our government is not doing what it should, or not doing things quickly enough, or in what we feel is the appropriate manner.

It is an entirely different matter, however, were we to be the ones on the inside trying to accomplish our desired goals. I’m sure that President Obama feels acutely aware of this facet of life right about now. Elections, of course, are not about choosing the perfect candidate. That candidate simply doesn’t exist. Rather, elections are about choosing the best of those folks who step forward to seek office, and in our current circumstances, Sean and Bob and Mary are the best.

We find ourselves at a critical juncture in the history of this town. How are we going to move forward once things start moving again—rampant growth for growth’s sake—or careful, balanced, controlled development in order to keep this village as much as possible the nice place that attracted all of us in the first place? We should keep in mind the old saying that sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. If we take a step back and look at the “forest” that is the village of Sugar Grove—not getting caught up in the trees, we see that Sugar Grove remains truly a great place to live and work and raise our families, and a large part of the credit for that must go to Sean Michels, Bob Bohler and Mary Heineman. Let’s keep these good people in office so that we can say the same thing about Sugar Grove several years down the line.

Bill Durrenberger
Sugar Grove