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Village Vision News

Peck, Reed, Trachtenberg win village board seats

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The April 7 election results bring one new trustee to Village Hall in Jimmy Peck, as he joins incumbents Larry Reed and Kerstin Trachtenberg as the three top vote-getters. Five candidates ran for three open trustee seats, with one of those seats up for grabs due to long-time Trustee Bob Rasho’s decision to not run again.

Rounding out the rest of the voting but falling short were newcomers Sid Audiffred and Renee Jones, who received 453 votes and 360 votes respectively. It was the first time running for public office for both.

While Peck, who got 622 votes, is new to the board of trustees, he’s no novice when it comes to public service. Currently, he serves on the village’s planning and zoning commission.

In addition, he served 16 years as Maroa-Forsyth Board of Education president. He’s also a former board member of the Decatur Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and The United Way. He has owned and operated a business, and he’s currently facilities manager at Decatur Memorial Hospital.

Peck, 55, has deep local roots here as he was the only Forsyth native running for trustee. He’s also a graduate of Maroa-Forsyth High School. He and his wife, Lisa, have three grown kids and a new granddaughter named Stevie.

Peck had previously stated that he is “a hometown guy who loves his community,” and he said he’d be accessible to residents. He’d like to see more affordable starter homes for young families, and he would like to attract more businesses to the community. Most notably, he’d like to see a grocery store in the village.

Victorious incumbent Larry Reed, a retired administrator for the Decatur Public Schools, has served as a trustee for three terms; he garnered 643 votes. Only Mayor Marilyn Johnson has served longer than Reed, who said he sought one more term because there were a few items left on his public service to-do list.

Those goals include finding a new and reliable water source close to the village, working with the school district to get a middle school for the village and he would like to see the Decatur Park District’s recreational path connect with other paths in the village.

Over the years, Reed has helped work and plan Forsyth Fest. He serves on the planning committee for the Forsyth Chili Fest, and he’s a trustee for the Hickory Point Fire Protection District and a member of Forsyth Rotary.

A point of pride for Reed is the fact that he’s only missed a meeting or two in the 12 years he’s served as a trustee. That’s a pretty solid record considering it amounts to 24 board meetings every year for a dozen years.

Reed, 72, and his wife, Carol, have made Forsyth their home since 2001. They have three grown children and one granddaughter.

Incumbent Kerstin Trachtenberg tallied 675 votes. Prior to the election, she had said she wanted to run again to help encourage economic development within the professional staff at village hall.

At the time, she cited her interest in Village Administrator David Strohl’s recent creation of the community and economic development coordinator position, which was filled by Emily Prather last fall. Trachtenberg said she wanted to remain involved as trustee to help get this new position “up and running.”

One of her great concerns, she has said, is the tenuous position of the nation’s malls, important here because more than 80 percent of the village’s general fund comes from sales tax revenue. That, coupled with the recent closing of two main anchor stores at Hickory Point Mall, spurred Trachtenberg’s concern for local economic development.

Trachtenberg, 54, also serves the village as its chair of the Family Fest Planning Committee. She and her husband have two daughters, a son-in-law and a grandson named Oliver. They’ve lived in the village for 14 years.

During the election season, Trachtenberg said she understood cynicism toward elected officials, saying that she also “shares that feeling.”

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