Hoeft unseats incumbent Huntley mayor, shares his goals
Huntley's "friendly mayor with country charm," Chuck Sass, has been ousted from the post he held unchallenged for 20 years.
Sass was defeated Tuesday by two-term village Trustee Timothy Hoeft in a tight mayoral race, unofficial results show.
Sass garnered more votes in Kane County -- 431 to Hoeft's 367. Ballots cast in McHenry County tipped the election in Hoeft's favor -- he received 880 votes to Sass's 763. Unofficial totals show Hoeft with 1,247 to Sass' 1,194.
"I always knew it would be close and never took anything for granted," said Hoeft, 41, an engineer and excavation contractor who has served as trustee since 2015.
The McHenry County clerk's office retabulated votes Thursday due to anomalies causing some races to be misreported Tuesday. The recount did not affect the outcome of the Huntley village president race.
Sass did not return calls seeking comment on the election loss. The 69-year-old had hoped to secure one more term before calling it quits. He's spent 24 years serving the town, first as trustee and later mayor.
Hoeft was appointed by Sass to the village's zoning board in 2011 and later served on the plan commission.
He and Sass have long records of serving the community. They also are friends, which made for an amicable campaign.
"Our end goal for the town is probably real close. We just probably have two different pathways of how to get there," Hoeft said during the campaign.
It was a bittersweet moment when Hoeft realized he had won.
"There's been great respect there both ways," he said. "We don't always agree. The mutual admiration is there. There were a lot of mixed emotions after winning. I'm excited for myself and I'm very grateful for everything he's done."
Hoeft felt it's time for new leadership and that his business experience will be an asset for a town burgeoning with development projects.
"I'm excited for the future of Huntley," he said. "A big part of my decision to run was the outcome of the outlet mall property."
Hoeft was in favor of a proposal to rezone the former outlet mall property off Route 47 north of Interstate 90 for industrial/office use. That proposal and rezoning request were turned down by a majority of village board members, prompting a lawsuit by the developer.
The village lost that court battle, which cost taxpayers roughly $370,000 and two years of business development, Hoeft said.
Both he and Sass support Huntley's getting a Metra or an Amtrak stop as the Illinois Department of Transportation moves forward with plans to restore passenger rail service between Chicago and Rockford. They have opposed allowing recreational-use marijuana businesses in town, but allowed for medical marijuana dispensaries.
They also support the annexation and development of 282 acres along Freeman Road, near Interstate 90 and Route 47 in an unincorporated area near Huntley, into an Amazon distribution center and office space potentially creating 1,000 jobs in 2022.
Hoeft said there's a need for more residential development in town.
"My 100-day goal is going to be to just bring continuity to the board ... get everybody's input on where they stand on a lot of different issues and move forward there as one unit," Hoeft said.
Hoeft's trustee term is up in 2023. Once sworn in, he plans to seek nominations for an appointee to serve the remainder of his trustee term. Trustee candidates who weren't successful in Tuesday's election won't have a leg up, he said.
"I give anybody credit for running and has a love for the community," Hoeft said. "If the voters chose not to elect you, I have a hard time to put somebody in that position and appoint them to a seat."