Over 40 years ago Mayor Red Johnson appointed me to the Public Library Board as Treasurer and to the Police Pension Board of Trustees. After six terms as city treasurer and now into a third and final term as mayor, it remains my highest honor to serve Sycamore.
First things first, credit goes to City Manager Brian Gregory, department heads, and all employees for bringing city services and projects to life for you. Gregory continues to provide professional city management with 13 years of serving Sycamore as he is supported by the City Council, mayor, departments and community.
Human Resource Director Sue Willey is retiring in June, and we thank her for expert and caring HR Services for all city employees. We will miss Sue’s optimism, fairness, and outgoing manner. Credit also goes to over 100 appointed volunteers serving on boards, committees, and commissions for the city.
Public safety is a top priority. The Sycamore Police Department, under Police Chief Don Thomas, is proactive in community policing and protects life, limb, and property. Sycamore fire houses Nos. 1 and 2 apply an integrated approach to emergency response and back up one another effectively. Fire Chief Pete Polarek continues to lead the Sycamore Fire Department.
Public Works Director Fred Busse leads streets, water, and sewer services. The city has approved for the sixth year an aggressive locally and state-funded, $2.7 million street program, through which parts of 14 streets will be resurfaced. In addition, Bethany Road will be widened from Peace Road west past Aster Drive.
City Clerk Candy Smith and Deputy Clerk Denise Setchell expertly serve the city with all clerical duties and responsibilities. John Sauter directs the Building, Engineering, and Code Division. City Engineer John Laskowski resigned to take another position, and we wish John all the best at the City of DeKalb. Adam Orton continues as city treasurer and as assistant to the city manager, and Dan Prombo continues as accounting supervisor in the finance office. Julie Rhodes and Cortney Cox serve the city well in the finance office.
Business is the heart and lifeblood of Sycamore, and the city is working with DeKalb County Economic Development Corp., local businesses, chambers of commerce, Sycamore schools, Kishwaukee College, Northern Illinois University, and other stakeholders to encourage workforce retention and expansion in Sycamore and the area. New housing increased to 30 single family and 40 multifamily units permitted last year, the most since 2007. Newer retail shops have opened also.
Many young people excelled in academics, athletics, the arts, and altruism at schools, athletics, church, home, and in service groups to advance their own skills and to provide service to others. We congratulate, thank, and support them, especially those graduates who will move on to the next chapter of their lives.
Although every family, business, farm, school, government, church, temple, and other entity with a budget struggles today, Sycamore has been and remains a diverse community with many resources and a “can-do” attitude. Economic conditions appear to be slowly improving, but we have a ways to go yet with more jobs needed. Folks here will weather the challenges we face, work through them, and realize the importance of faith, family, and friends as we continue.
Sycamore’s a great place to grow up, learn, work, worship and enjoy living where “life offers more.” Thank you for your trust and support.