TOLONO — A village board member won a four-person race to become village board president of Tolono.
Unofficial vote totals showed Jeff Holt, a construction project coordinator at the University of Illinois, winning with 162 votes, followed by former village president Greg Cler with 152 votes and another village board member, Denny Davis, receiving 145 votes. Damian Donberger came in fourth with 98 votes.
Holt will replace Village President Kent Plackett, who did not seek re-election.
"I feel very blessed, and it's a privilege," Holt said. "I'm going to work really hard."
Davis said he had no regrets about his campaign.
"It just went the other way," he said. "I wish Jeff the best. I hope everything works out."
Davis, the owner of Davis Real Estate, predicted that when Tolono residents who didn't vote learn that only 557 residents cast their ballots, they will regret that decision.
"I think it (turnout) was real low," Davis said. "People need to realize every vote counts."
Davis, a volunteer firefighter, said not being on the village board now will allow him to speak freely on TIF issues, something he was unable to do as a trustee because he owns property in the TIF district.
Davis said he has no plans to serve on the village board again any time soon but said he will stay active in the community.
"I really don't expect to fade away into the sunset," he said.
Donberger, a union plumber/welder new to the local political scene, received 17.59 percent of the vote.
"It did surprise me to a degree," he said. "The voters decided what they wanted. We'll get what we deserve again."
Like Davis, Donberger felt voter turnout played a role in the outcome.
"People didn't get out to vote," he said. "People have no idea what's going on. I think people in Tolono don't care what happens. We're going to go back to the good old boys system. That's why I ran; I think it needs to be changed. People need to wake up."
Cler could not be reached for comment.