Two candidates are challenging two incumbents for three open seats on Teutopolis Village Board in Tuesday’s election. Village Trustee Joseph Schumacher is not running.
Incumbents Kenneth Esker and Daniel F. Zerrusen are on the ballot. Joining them are Jane Summers and Bernard J. Hartke.
Esker did not respond to questions about the election from the Effingham Daily News.
Is there any reason that motivated you to run for office?
Hartke: I would like to be more involved in the issues that affect my community. I have lived in Teutopolis all of my life. It has been a wonderful place to live and raise my family. This is an opportunity for me to give back for all it has given me.
Summers: I see potential for growth in Teutopolis, not only in the Industrial Park but in the residential areas. We need to have more opportunities for young people to come back to Teutopolis with their families.
Zerrusen: I have been on the Teutopolis board for the last five-plus years. There are a lot of new developments happening that i would like to see continue — the business park, housing development and businesses expanding.
What do you feel qualifies you for the position?
Hartke: I have a great deal of experience in the construction trade.
Summers: I have held numerous positions on several boards in the past. I feel I am good with compromise and think outside the box to look for solutions.
Zerrusen: My engineering background comes in useful on the board. Also, I have been on the board for the last five-plus years and feel that the village started and has been doing a lot of great things during this time. I would like to help them to continue.
What sets you apart from your opponents?
Hartke: I work with the public every day. I listen, try to fully understand their issue or concern, and work hard to resolve it. I also understand the difference between want and need. My responsibility to the taxpayers is to provide what is needed first and to do so within the village’s financial means.
Summers: I am not a Teutopolis native and know some of the struggles of moving here and looking for housing. I feel that housing is a big issue and the new subdivision is a start, but I feel we need more opportunities for young adults and families. I also believe that infrastructure is something that needs more attention.
Zerrusen: I am approachable and willing to talk over issues with anyone that has questions. I have a strong work ethic and I believe in doing my own research on projects to come up with the best solutions to issues.
What are the most important issues specific to your race?
Hartke: Infrastructure is the biggest issue, specifically replacing old water lines and solving drainage problems. The Prairie View subdivision is a good start to growing the town, but it’s progress and that of the town in general needs to be monitored and ongoing.
Summers: Residential opportunities, industry and infrastructure.
Zerrusen: Spending — 1. TIF agreements with the school and businesses will need to be considered in the near future. 2. The village has a large wish list of projects but only limited funds. I would like to see the village only complete projects that they have the means to pay for at the time they are proposed.
What are some of the things you hope to get accomplished if elected?
Hartke: I would like to get the drainage issues resolved, especially on the south side of town.
Summers: Develop the subdivision to its full potential and increase our population of families in Teutopolis. We have an Industrial Park that is not being used to its fullest potential and I’d like to see more done with the TIF District. I think there is a lot that could be done in that area. I also feel that something needs to be done with infrastructure and we need to look at where we are spending our tax dollars. I also feel we aren’t realizing the full potential of grants that are available for smaller municipalities and we need to stay on top of those grant possibilities.
Zerrusen: I would like to see Phase II of the housing development completed and look into areas for another possible development in the future. There are several street and water projects that I would like to see started and completed.
Bernie Hartke, 55, and his wife, Kathy, have two children and one grandchild. He is a graduate of Teutopolis High School and is a custom woodshop manager at Effingham Builders Supply. He is currently a member of the Teutopolis Board of Appeals and Planning Commission. He is a member of St. Francis of Assisi Church (Long Range Planning Committee member, Building and Grounds Committee member, past Parish Council member) and Teutopolis Knights of Columbus.
Jane Summers, 57, has three children and four grandchildren. She is a graduate of Arthur High School, Olney Central College with an Associate in Science in Accounting and Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in Career Occupational Studies. Jane has been an Administrative Production Assistant at Siemer Milling Company since 1998. She is currently treasurer for the Effingham County Crimestoppers and was previously director, secretary, treasurer, vice president, president and past president of the Effingham County United Way Board.
Dan Zerrusen, 40, and his wife, Emily, have three children, Brennan, 12, Caleb, 8, and Sophia, 5. He has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a professional engineering license. Dan is a bridge maintenance engineer for the Illinois Department of Transportation. He is currently a Teutopolis Village Trustee.