For the past three decades, Dixie Lee Sacks liked being mayor, and the village of about 600 residents liked her back.
“I kept getting elected,” said Sacks, 79, of why she served in the role for 27 years. “It’s an elected position — and I enjoyed it. And I just stayed on, I guess.”
Sacks, the village of Round Lake’s first female and longest-serving mayor, will retire March 30, bringing to an end a 30-year career in public service. She was elected in 1990 after joining the Village Board in 1987.
The village, once an association, was incorporated in 1969.
“I’ve enjoyed it, but I think the time is right,” said Sacks, who is leaving one year before her 2-year term expires. “I’m getting older, and I need some time for me.”
The Village Board is expected to appoint Deputy Mayor Thomas Bergin to replace her and serve out the rest of her term through March 2018.
Sacks said she was proud to lead the village through major infrastructure projects, like replacing the water and sewer pipes in 2003.
“The water and sewer lines were like a 100 years old, and they had holes in them,” she said. “It was not a pretty picture.”
In addition to the new piping, the village gave up its reservoir after state and federal regulations targeted uncovered water supplies, connecting to Clifton Park water instead, she said. Natural gas was also installed and all village roads were repaved during Sacks’ tenure.
“I am one that likes to solve puzzles and get things done, and I enjoyed doing that,” she said. “When there was a problem, I enjoyed getting it fixed — one way or another.”
Sacks said she first ran for mayor against Bill Ryan, the incumbent, in 1988, and lost in a close race. When he learned she was running again in 1990, he decided not to run, she said.
“Women were having a hard time getting into politics, but I didn’t seem to have any problem,” she said.
Sacks said she feels comfortable stepping down now because the budget is in the black — “in my 27 years, we’ve always been in the black” — and the proposed spending plan lowers taxes by 9 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value.
“I think I’m leaving it in good shape,” she said.
She doesn’t have to much planned for her retirement, but looks forward to spending time with family.
“I don’t have a real big bucket list,” she said. “I’ll probably do a little bit of traveling.”
But first she'll attend the budget hearing set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 5.
“People may have questions,” she said.