YORKVILLE — Voters Tuesday decided to stay with someone already in tune to Yorkville municipal matters, selecting Sherry Gruhn to be the first Yorkville village president.
Gruhn, who had been a supervisor in the former town government, defeated James Fox, an agricultural producer, certified repair technician and former Union Grove village trustee, 408 votes to 211.
Yorkville residents went to the polls Tuesday to elect a Village Board consisting of a president and four village trustees. On April 3, residents took advantage of special legislation resulting from the state Foxconn agreement that allowed Yorkville to incorporate as a village to protect its borders and gain the additional statutory powers that villages and cities have over townships.
As village president, Gruhn’s overall goals are simple: “We want to see development along the Interstate. We want (the rest of the town) to stay rural.”
Daniel Maurice, a Water Department technician and farmer, received the most votes among trustee candidates with 477.
“I was definitely nervous throughout the day,” Maurice said. “I’m very, very happy with the result … Yorkville is a wonderful community, and I want to keep it that way.”
Maurice’s fellow trustees will be Robert Funk, a 34-year-old farmer who garnered 455 votes; Steve Nelson, a 69-year-old vice president at C.H. Coakley & Co.; and Terry McMahon, 83, who received 334 votes and will continue serving Yorkville after 33 consecutive years as a Town Board supervisor.
McMahon and Gruhn are the only members of the board with elected governmental experience, although the other three have all served on Yorkville’s Stormwater Commission. Funk and Maurice also served on the town Planning Commission.
“We need consistency and continuity going forward,” resident Barb Geschke, 64, said.
Freelance writer Carrie Bergs and AWANA chapter head Kay Erickson, who garnered 288 and 270 votes respectively, lost the trustee election.
Gruhn is well aware of some of the hurdles she wants to overcome in her first term. It’ll start with improving the village’s sewage and water facility that sits near the interstate.
“Our infrastructure isn’t quite what it should be with that,” she said.
She’ll also be facing continual shifts as Foxconn begins construction next door in Mount Pleasant.
“Foxconn put a damper on everybody,” Gruhn remembered. “Everybody got scared. We didn’t know what was going to happen … By getting the residents of the town behind (becoming a village), we knew we could rely on the townspeople through this transition.”
One major change that’s coming to Yorkville’s board is size. As a town, its board only had three members. Its Village Board will consist of five members.
“Before there were three, and even with three we couldn’t always decide,” Gruhn said with a laugh.
The newly elected Village Board will serve a shortened first term. All four trustees and Gruhn will be up for re-election on April 2, 2019.
Thereafter, village presidents will serve two-year terms. The top two vote-getting trustees in April’s election will also serve two-year terms, while the other two trustees will receive a one-year term. After 2019, two trustees will be elected in even years and two in odd years.