Village of Vinton reelects council members, mayor; community questions future
The Village of Vinton voted on the mayoral seat, as well as two alderperson places this election .
In each opening, the incumbent was reelected.
The election follows a year of turmoil, leaving the village without a budget, tax rate, water or sewer system.
It is these issues that residents of Vinton complain must be fixed.
However, many of the problems stem from Vinton's divided council, which leaves each meeting in stalemate.
With re-election of the three Vinton members leaving everything the same, the question "Is there any hope?" is being asked by some residents.
"Don't lose hope. I'm not losing it. I'm very, very hopeful," Mayor Madeleine Praino said.
Praino said she was humbled by being reelected with 67.4 percent of the vote.
"A perfect scenario? A very agreeable council of course," Praino said.
According to the mayor, the division between herself and the two most recently re-elected council members, and three other council members is hurting the Village.
"All it takes is for everybody to come to their senses, to assume responsibility," she said.
Many of the residents of Vinton have realized the council division, and say they're unsure of Vinton's future.
ABC-7 visited dozens of homes on several streets, but no one would speak on camera.
Some residents even claimed they feared retaliation if they disclosed who they voted for.
Off camera, residents told ABC-7 they worry the stalemate will never end, but hope for the best.
Others said they were flat out angry that no one new was elected for the Village.
Praino said those who worry no change in elections will mean no change in Vinton, need not.
"We will stay the course on positive changes," the mayor said.
Praino said she has big plans, starting with passing a budget, tax rate, water and sewer system.
However, she also hopes to start back up a housing program with recylcing, obtain new street lighting, fund a multi-purpose center, and rehire Vinton staff recently laid off.
Before any of that happens, though, she says the council must resolve their own issues.
"I do want friendlier relations with the whole table. That is the main goal," Praino said.
According to the mayor, nothing can happen for the Village until the elections department has canvased the votes, and the council members and she are sworn in.
In the meantime, some residents of Vinton are going to court. They hope to remove the three council members opposing the mayor, who they say are hurting Vinton.
ABC-7 reached out to State Rep. Dee Margo regarding Vinton's situation. He said he sent a copy of the residents suit to the Attorney General's Office.
The Attorney Generals Office has since told ABC-7 that they are looking into the accusations made by the residents.