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By DAVE HINTON
Rantoul Press editor
Last Thursday was the final day candidates could file nominating petitions to have their name placed on the ballot for the April 9 election, and one of the most notable absences among area communities was that of Tony Grilo.
The long-term mayor of Thomasboro — and before that village board member — has decided not to seek re-election.
There will also be several new faces on the village board as no incumbents are seeking re-election.
Grilo, who was first elected mayor in 1997, said it was time for someone else to do the job.
“It just felt like I accomplished what I wanted,” Grilo said. “I wanted to get the sewer done.”
Grilo, a two-term member of the village board before running for mayor, said the Champaign County community was in sore need of a sewer system to replace the septic system that left some yards with effluent in them.
“We had a number of people who had saturated yards,” Grilo said. “We had illegal hookups. I knew it was just a matter of time before the state said we had to (move to a sewer system).”
The $2 million system was installed and went online in the early 2000s, Grilo estimated, and involves Thomasboro pumping its effluent north to Rantoul, where it goes through the village treatment system.
Thomasboro is charged the same rate that residents of Rantoul are to have its wastewater treated.
Grilo said, ironically, two years after the system became operational, the state of Illinois made grant money available to “unsewered communities.”
“We might have gotten a little more grant money (if Thomasboro had waited),” Grilo said, adding, though, that the construction costs likely would have been higher if the village hadn’t built the project when it did.
Grilo is glad the village accomplished the major infrastructure project, whose bonds will be paid off in about 12 years.
“I think Thomasboro is a lot better place for it,” he said.
It was a lot of work to get the system in place, Grilo said. There were a number of meetings with engineers and attorneys. There were also meetings in Springfield with Tim Johnson, who then served in the General Assembly, in the hopes of securing grant money.
After being elected mayor twice beginning 16 years ago, Grilo was defeated by Curt Simmons in Grilo’s third mayoral bid. But Simmons resigned, and Harold Hough agreed to assume the village’s top job, Grilo said.
Hough did not seek election to the mayor’s job four years ago, and Grilo ran again and was elected.
Grilo, however, said his time is up and it’s time for someone else to helm the board.
That person appears to be Brad Morris, who is the lone candidate for the mayor’s job.
“It looks like we’ll get a new mix, new faces on the board,” Grilo said. “I’m looking forward to see what kinds of things they can accomplish in their tenure.”
Grilo, 51, who is a maintenance planner at Advance Filtration Systems, Champaign, said he feels like he has filled the mayor’s role long enough.
“You are the example for everybody,” he said. “I ... kind of look forward not having to go to that meeting every month and drop what I’m doing.”
He said it isn’t like he did it all himself. Quite the contrary.
“Everything we accomplished was by the board,” Grilo said.
He said the board “worked tirelessly” to have the state permit revoked for the trailer park that used to sit next to the Interstate 57 overpass. The trailer park was removed, and the land purchased by Larry Scott.
Grilo noted the board also spent a great deal of time on the removal of a former motel located along U.S. 45. The motel had become dilapidated.
“When we finally achieved that, it made way for the fire department to purchase the land and build one of the nicest fire stations around,” Grilo said.
Grilo lauded the work of the trustees he has served with as well as village attorney Holt Summers, Street Department employee Jay Arnold and the village police department.
“I had a great run,” Grilo said. “Thanks to everyone.”
Other Thomasboro filings
The mayor’s seat won’t be the only one with a new occupant following the April vote. In fact, none of the incumbents is running again.
Thomasboro will also have a new clerk, effective Jan. 1. Jeremy Reale, who grew up in Thomasboro, was approved by the board to succeed Becky Quinlan, who resigned.
None of the incumbents — Bill Kurth, Dean Stombaugh and Burke Stanion — filed for re-election for the three four-year terms on the board. Filing were newcomers Jeff Robertson and Wally Tater.