SAUK VILLAGE - Mayor Mark Collins thinks he has done a good job governing
Sauk Village these past four years, and is asking voters to re-elect him to a
third four-year term on April 1.
But two challengers, Robert Kohnhorst and Roger Peckham, the latter a former
Collins' ally, believe it's time for a change of administration at the Village
Voters will decide the mayor's race and other village races on April 1.
Collins, 45, served as village trustee from 1987 to 1989. He was elected
mayor in 1989 and 1993. He has lived in Sauk Village for 23 years.
Collins said he wants a third term as mayor to continue the growth and
improvement since he has been mayor.
"I enjoy the job. I enjoy helping people get through red tape when they need
help dealing with the state, county or federal government," Collins said.
He said more than 100 new single-family-homes have been constructed in Sauk
Village. Most are located in new subdivisions, including Deer Creek Estates,
Lincoln Meadows, and Carolina.
Although Sauk Village did not get its promised intermodal facility, the
village did attract several new businesses, including Wayne Industries Steel
Pro, Chicago Air Power, Ferral Gas, and Alguire Tree Service. Other new
businesses include General Dollar store and Sparkling Spring car wash, Collins
The village is working with Trans Development to get other industries to
move into the village, Collins said. Collins said he would like to get a car
dealership, a big department store and other businesses into Sauk Village.
Kohnhorst, 61, said things in Sauk Village are not rosy. Kohnhorst ran
unsuccessfully two years ago for village trustee. He is a retired Sauk Village
Fire Department captain.
He has lived in Sauk Village for more than 30 years. He lived for two years
in the late 1980s in Florida before moving back to Sauk Village.
"We need a change out here. We can't continue as we are. Sauk Village is
going backward instead of forward," Kohnhorst said.
Sauk Village taxpayers may someday be hit with huge property tax hikes to
pay off $14.8 million in general obligation bonds eyed to finance the village's
third tax increment financing (TIF) district, he said.
The promised intermodal facility was supposed to be located in that third
TIF district. If the TIF bonds come due and there is not sufficient TIF revenue
to repay them, revenue from property taxes from the rest of Sauk Village may
have to repay them, Kohnhorst warned.
Collins charged Kohnhorst with spreading misinformation. The village has
issued only $10 million in the TIF bonds, which are general obligation bonds.
But, taxpayers won't repay them. As a last resort, the village can sell off
land in that third TIF district to obtain money to repay the bonds, Collins
Kohnhorst also charged the village mismanaged a single-family rehabilitation
program using Community Development Block Grant money. Cook County suspended
Sauk Village's participation in the CDBG program because homeowners were not
getting their homes fixed up properly, Kohnhorst said.
Peckham, 49, has lived in Sauk Village for 18 years. He is a former school
District 168 board member (November 1987 to March 1996), serving as president
from 1989-1995. He is a former village treasurer, from November 1987 through
Peckham was appointed a village trustee by Collins in January 1996. If
Peckham loses the mayor's race, he is out as trustee because the unexpired term
he is filling concludes on May 1.
"I'm not happy with the direction we're going," Peckham said.
He said there is a lack of communication between the mayor and the trustees.
He claimed the village, when it comes to dealing with new developments, jumps
at opportunities rather than considers serious planning.
Peckham said certain areas of the village, especially the townhouses on the
village's north end east of Ill. 394 look shabby. Some need repair. Code
enforcement should get after the owners to make needed repairs to improve the
image and safety of the village, Peckham said.
More planning needs to be done as far as fixing sewers and streets in the
older sections of the village, said Peckham, who promised he would do that if
Peckham also would like to provide more youth activities. He said youngsters
should be involved in planning youth activities.
Peckham would not raise taxes, but would prefer charging user fees to fund
new youth activities, he said.
Other races in Sauk Village include village clerk and trustees. Marjorie
Tuley, the incumbent, is running unopposed for village clerk.
Seven trustee candidates are running for three trustee posts.
The candidates include incumbents Robin Flores and Mary Slawnikowski plus
newcomers John Dennis, Thomas Gorski, Dennis Kopaczewski, Robert Nordstrom, and