NEW LENOX – A two-term incumbent faces two political newcomers in the April 7 mayoral election in New Lenox.
Tim Baldermann, who ran unopposed in 2011, is being challenged by resident Andrew Englebrecht and retired village employee Ron Sly.
Englebrecht, 24, is a lifelong village resident, but attended Bradley University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in social work. He also spent a semester in Denmark studying European political systems. He is employed as a cook.
Englebrecht believes Baldermann has prioritized commercial development over responding to residents’ concerns.
“If we’re going to sell off to large corporations, that’s needless growth if it’s not reinvested locally,” Englebrecht said. “I would make a greater effort making sure everybody’s voices are heard.”
Englebrecht believes state budget constraints will be the biggest challenge for the village and would promote projects that could become self-sustaining.
“I’d love to start a community garden [to] stock up the local food pantry and have local restaurants use the produce,” Englebrecht said.
Sly, 55, has lived in New Lenox for 54 years. He spent 35 years with the village’s public works department – 21 as superintendent and two as operations director – before retiring in 2013.
“I’d like to apply my experience with how the village is run and get back to core services the village should be providing,” Sly said.
Sly believes road maintenance and police services should be prioritized and would like to install or replace sidewalks and roadways in the village’s older neighborhoods.
“We’ve got high standards on residential development,” Sly said. “But we need to raise the bar on guiding commercial development’s traffic control and aesthetics. We’ve got to make sure the Route 30 corridor doesn’t run away looking like LaGrange Road.”
Sly also believes Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plans to cut state funding will be the biggest challenge for New Lenox in the next four years.
Baldermann, 48, has lived in the village for 21 years. He is superintendent of Union School District 81 and the former Chicago Ridge police chief. New Lenox has become the second-fastest growing town in Will County during his administration.
“No matter what happens in the next four years, we’re going to grow. People want to live here and we have to stay on top of the infrastructure,” Baldermann said.
The mayor believes road-widening projects and constructing arterial roads are the best ways to deal with that growth.
“I believe I still have the best qualifications to be mayor. I haven’t seen any vision from the other candidates,” Baldermann said. “I’ve laid out a clear plan. You can’t just run for office and say you’ll do better.”