If Tuesday's election was a referendum between experienced, traditional, well-run city government versus a public outcry for property-tax relief, tradition was the decisive winner.
Incumbent Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns won a fourth term over challenger Bob McQuillan, 2,114-1,401, a margin of victory that reflects about a 60-40 decision in favor of the incumbent.
"When you stripped away all the rhetoric and you actually focused on what really had been accomplished, I think people understand that some pretty doggone good things have been done in Geneva over the past 12 years," Burns said.
McQuillan, one of the co-founders of the Geneva TaxFACTS citizens group, challenged the mayor primarily on one issue: to keep property taxes and government spending in check.
McQuillan stopped by the Burns campaign shortly after 9 p.m. to concede the race and offer his congratulations.
"I'm disappointed in not winning, of course. But I think it was a good, clean campaign on both sides," McQuillan said. "We got a lot of issues out. For a guy who was running against an incumbent of 12 years, I think I did pretty well. I was an underdog form Day One. I hope Kevin looks at the numbers and votes across the board and sees that Geneva has some issues and some problems."
Speaking before a group of supporters and family members Tuesday night at 315 James St. above the Olive Mill, Burns said he hoped the next four years would continue to prosper as it has for generations.
"While there's always an expectation that things can be better—and I echo that sentiment—we are a community that is continuously improving, and I just want to help lead that improvement."
Tuesday night's election marks a milestone in Geneva. When he takes office for his fourth term, Burns will become the longest-serving mayor in the city's history.
"It hasn't sunk in," he said. "I think, more important than being the longest-serving is that, hopefully, I've been an effective mayor, as well. That's really all that matters to me, that I've been able to achieve some success for our community in cooperation and collaboration with hundreds of other people."