Round Lake mayor hopefuls look to village's future
The styles are different but the two candidates for mayor in Round Lake have similar views for a community looking ahead.
James Dietz, a land surveyor who is seeking a second term as the top elected village official, is soft-spoken and deliberate. He lists fiscal responsibility, responsible planning and creating a sense of community as priorities.
Daniel MacGillis, a musician, has a booming voice and is more animated. The village budget is in good shape, he says, but residents going forward can't be burdened with higher taxes. He advocates live video streaming of board meetings to encourage public involvement and transportation as top issues.
Both are running as part of a slate with candidates for three trustee seats and the village clerk position. Each slate includes two incumbents.
Both Dietz's Community Commitment slate with incumbent Trustee Sonia Sandoval and Clerk Joyce Swieton, and MacGillis' Citizens First slate with incumbent trustees Don Newby and Susan Tripahn advocate fiscal responsibility and quality service for residents.
The following information came from interviews with the mayoral candidates and their answers to a Daily Herald questionnaire.
Dietz served from 1987 to 1994 on the village's planning and zoning board, the last two years as chairman. He says his familiarity with village infrastructure and an understanding of the public and private sides of planning and development are assets.
"I have things to finish," he said of his run for re-election. "One of the bigger things is the traffic patterns through Round Lake." That involves continued work with the Lake County Division of Transportation to reroute Cedar Lake Road through downtown, he said.
Dietz said completing a plan to manage stormwater will help potential development areas downtown and is an investment for when the economy improves.
"We're actually getting closer," he said. "This will put us a lot farther ahead of the game than we ever were before."
Road improvements and sewer and water repairs are needed, Dietz said. He advocates a 10-year study of capital and infrastructure improvements that would prioritize projects and include a plan to fund them.
"We need to be proud of our past while creating a sustainable path for our future development needs through responsible planning," he said.
MacGillis, a trustee of the Greater Round Lake Area Fire Protection District, considered a run four years ago to unseat former Mayor Bill Gentes but deferred. This will be his first run for public office. He said the village board appears to be divided, and getting new blood will present an opportunity for "good things to happen" in Round Lake.
"Four years later, it's not the same issue," he said. "I don't think he's (Dietz) a bad guy. I think Jim has made some bad decisions," MacGillis said.
While satisfied with the selections, he said Dietz took too long to replace the public works director and police chief.
"I think they could have been addressed in a much more timely fashion and needed to be," he said.
MacGillis says improving transportation and opening new corridors is part of positioning Round Lake for the future. Local roads are suffering as well, he added.
"There are so many roads that are deplorable," he said.
Dietz said the village has contacted grocery stores and other businesses about coming to town, but despite thousands of new homes in the past decade, it hasn't been enough.
"That doesn't seem to make a difference," he said. Incentives, such as sales tax sharing, is an issue that should be discussed by the village board.
MacGillis, who lives a block from downtown, said the village needs storefronts and industry.
"Why do we just have a couple of gin mills downtown?" he asked. "I'd like to see baby steps -- let's put a Starbucks in next to the train station."