EARLVILLE – On Tuesday, March 20, the Village of Earlville will hold elections for the office of mayor and for two board of trustees positions. The incumbent, first-term Mayor Toni Campbell, will be running against challenger Michael Kicinski.
Both candidates agree the big issues in this campaign are Earlville’s ongoing water problem, the cuts the village recently encountered in its police coverage and codes office and a general issue of trust in village government.
“The past two years have seen Earlville move forward on critical issues,” Campbell said. According to the incumbent, the village recently completed an engineering study of the water system and is now ready to hold town hall meetings on the best way to move forward and make the necessary improvements. The water system has been an issue in Earlville, with some residents getting brown water from their taps, she said, and some fire hydrants that don’t produce enough pressure to supply water. “We know that the village needs to consider whether to undertake a project that can cost from $1.7 to $2 million, but that we can ill afford not to undertake,” Campbell said.
Her competitor disagrees. Kicinski thinks the water problem can be solved with regular maintenance. “The water issue affects all residents on a long-term basis,” Kicinski said. “I don’t want to see long-term debt.” According to Kicinski, a sectional replacement plan had been started and should be continued. “We need to focus on the positive,” Kicinski said. “We have safe drinking water, but we do have a water system that needs to be flushed because there is some sediment and discolored water.”
The issue of police coverage will also be a big factor in the upcoming elections. “In the past year, the village has lost local police coverage and a codes officer. We want to see those restored,” Kicinski said.
According to Campbell, those issues are already being resolved. “We’ve transformed our village’s police protection model from a one-man, 20-hour-a-week department, to a new collaborative partnership with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department,” Campbell said. She explained that the Madison Sheriff’s Department would man the former village police station and provide regular patrols of the village. “We have seen some real progress, but there’s still more to do,” Campbell said. Some of the things she says still need to be done include moving forward with the water contract, reinitiating the Streetscapes program and hiring a new codes officer.
Although there are several big issues in this election, both candidates say the real issue is trust and openness in government. “Our goal is to restore confidence to the residents that elected leaders are open in both directions of communication, from the board to the residents and from the residents to the board,” Kicinski said. Kicinski says he is available to answer questions from village residents. “We’ll answer our phones and will return calls and get back to them with progress updates and answers,” Kicinski said. If elected, Kicinski says he plans to have regularly scheduled time at village hall, so residents can address him with their questions or concerns. Kicinski will be providing his own information on the elections at www.Elections.Earlville.net.
Campbell is similarly concerned with the issue of trust. “I think village residents have, in my term in office, come to trust me and the majority of the Board of Trustees, but more importantly, I’ve come to trust them,” Campbell said. She explained that over the last two years, village residents have come to her with their questions, concerns and ideas. “It’s that kind of willingness to bring ideas to an open, listening government that is, for me, the most important issue,” Campbell said, explaining that the residents have trusted her and the board to make responsible decisions and work on their behalf. “I’ll be asking them to trust me with another two years as their representative. In exchange, I want them to know that I will continue to trust them to provide the ideas and energy that have moved this village forward,” Campbell said.
The March 20 elections will also include a race for two positions on the board of trustees. Trustee Sandra Holbrook will not be seeking re-election, leaving one post open. Incumbent Trustee Kim Boomhower will face competition from both Carol Lee and Gerald Hayes. The top two candidates will fill the positions.