1 of 2
2 of 2
There is a new Democratic bidder for the Madison County Sheriff’s seat come the November general election.
Challenger John Lakin defeated incumbent Robert Hertz in the Democratic primary election on Tuesday, March 18, by a tally of 7,929 to 4,401. Hertz has been sheriff since 2002.
“Obviously, I’m elated over winning,” Lakin, 54, said. “It was a hard-fought effort by everybody who worked tirelessly for me. Our committee worked very hard since October.”
Lakin decided to enter the sheriff’s race in October when he lost the endorsement of the Madison County Democratic Party.
He said his campaign started out with 25 people meeting every Sunday night to plan and organize his campaign, and since then it has grown to 25 to 40 people.
“We made a lot of phone calls, a lot of contacts, a lot of mailers,” said Lakin. “It was a culmination of a lot of things that got me where I’m at … I’m very grateful to those individuals to have that confidence in me to cast their vote and I pledge (if elected) to do what I can to protect the citizens of Madison County and those who visit Madison County.”
Hertz said he called Lakin to congratulate him on the eve of his victory on the Democratic bid.
“I’m not bitter. I’m not looking for revenge,” he said.
Hertz, who has been employed with the department for 42 years, said he obviously wanted to win.
“I wasn’t in it to lose. I was in it to win it. Naturally, I’m disappointed. Life goes on. This too shall pass,” he said. “I certainly wouldn’t have written this as the last chapter of my professional career.”
So far, Lakin faces no opposition in the November general election. The last day independent, new party and non-partisan candidates can file is June 23. The last day a Republican candidate can file is June 2.
Lakin has devoted 23 years to the sheriff’s department, including nine under Hertz. He retired from the department in 2011 and was appointed as Glen Carbon’s police chief the same year.
He said if he gets elected in the fall election, he plans to meet with every member of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and ask them what their concerns are and what they can do to make the department a better place to work.
Jail bond issue gets voted down
The issue of borrowing $18.8 million in bond money to fund renovations and remodels to the county jail got voted down at the primary election with 16,276 voting “no” and 8,092 “yes.”
“It certainly didn’t surprise me,” said County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan on voters rejecting the measure.
The question presented to the voters when they cast their ballot was, “Shall Madison County issue bonds in the aggregate principal amount not to exceed $18,885,002 to construct, expand and remodel the county’s jail?”
Bond sale proceeds would have been used for installation of fire detection and suppression systems, expansion of the kitchen and laundry facilities, replacement of deteriorated water and sewer lines, replacement of the heating ventilation and air-conditioning systems, updating jail security systems and expanding the secured inmate loading facility, or sally port.
Dunstan said the county will “talk about it and figure out what we’re going to do” in the next two to three months.
“It’s not on the front burner,” he said.
If the ballot measure had been approved, Dunstan said he planned on abating the tax of the bond sale from the county’s general fund.
County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler said the county did not need to issue bonds when there is $25 million in the general fund to make repairs.
“But are there items that are legitimate?” Prenzler asked, referring to fixing such items as the jail’s sprinkler systems.
“It is not required that they need new sprinklers,” he said. “A new generator? Yeah, it’s not $18.8 million. Sure, go do it.”
Prenzler said the main issue came down last September when the county board voted to pass the $18.8 million bond sale at a board meeting – an action he describes as a “back-door referendum.”
He said he thinks the county should practice a “front-door referendum,” or advisory referendum, where the board takes issues like the jail bonds to the voters.
After the county passed the issuance of the bonds in October, 23,600 signatures on petitions were signed and collected in 30 days, allowing the issue to go before voters.
Prenzler said he thinks a “back-door referendum” should be illegal, like he said they are in Missouri.
“I don’t think we should have to work this hard to vote on these issues,” he said.
Maxwell keeps District 11 seat on Madison County Board
In the lone contested Madison County Board race, incumbent Brad Maxwell defeated former State’s Attorney Don Weber in the District 11 Republican primary by a tally of 399 to 276.
Maxwell, 42, was appointed in November 2013 to fill the remaining term of Jean Myers after she retired. He works in government computing security for Boeing and retired from the Air Force in 2011.
Maxwell said he would work on improving fire insurance ratings for county residents served by volunteer fire departments and ensuring growth in the Illinois 255 corridor doesn’t negatively affect residents or property values.
Maxwell is unopposed in the Nov. 4 general election.
In the Staunton School District, voters rejected 342-172 a proposition to increase the limiting rate by 1 percent under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law. The tax caps law, or PTELL, limits property tax extensions to the lesser of 5 percent or the increase in the national Consumer Price Index for the year preceding the levy year. Voters can approve an increase for taxing bodies.
Jersey County Board District 1 seat candidates face off
Wayne Schell defeated Don Walsh Jr. in the Democratic County Board primary for a four-year term on District 1 by 207-93. In the Republican primary for District 1, Kenny Grizzle defeated Jarrod Hayes 183-126.
In the Republican sheriff's race, Ray Sinclair defeated J.T. "Terry" Day 779-734. Sinclair will face incumbent Sheriff Mark R. Kallal in the Nov. 4 general election.
The Grafton electrical aggregation issue won by a 79-37 margin.
Under state law, local governments can negotiate the price of power from a supplier other than the traditional utility in an effort to reduce bills. The utility is still responsible for power delivery and billing, and residents can opt out of the program.
Grafton residents also will be able to attend two public hearings on the issue.
Voters also approved a Medora Fire Protection District annexation question, 98-37.