Friday was officially 7 months in office. Admittedly I have been drinking from a fire hose. There has been a lot to learn and a lot to do. Most importantly, there have been a lot of relationships to build.
It is true that many battles are being fought. I will continue to fight and I will be persistent. I believe on making the right policy choices based on what I believe to be the right decision. There are others that base their decision on the politics. Personally, good policy makes for good politics not the other way around.
I would like to highlight the many accomplishments over the last 7 months.
- Opted out of the pension system as promised.
- Reduced debt.
- Exited 9750. This took over $50 million in debt off our books.
- Reduced operational spending.
- Cut 2.2% out of our budget (there’s more low hanging fruit, but it’s a good start).
- Stopped the practice of rolling over excess revenue into the operating budgets.
- Stopped/reduced several spending initiatives that were proposed.
- Instrumental in aiding Commissioner Morrison to repeal the Cook County Sugary Beverage Tax.
- Village Board Meetings on audio with video to come as soon as we can find a cost-effective option.
- Hurricane Harvey relief.
- Small Business Advisory Council local legislative round table representative.
- I-80 Corridor
- Amazon bid submittal that drove Intersect Illinois and Illinois DECO to meet with Orland Park for the first time and on Monday, visiting us as well.
- Re-established a relationship with Simon Properties, owners of the mall and also our largest economic engine. Improvements planned include:
- $30-$40 Million investment in the Sears Property (with no tax payer incentives!)
- Texas de Brazil and STEAM play area.
- Other future planned investments at Orland Square Mall.
- Re-developed the Economic Development Advisory Board that has already contributed to several initiatives.
- State submittal to federal government for one flyover bridge for Metra that will help improve service on the Southwest Metra line.
- South side lanes of 159th Street opened from LaGrange to Will Cook road this week.
- Resolved a 2-year-old issue between PACE and Simon properties that kept a stop at Orland Square Mall and moved the holdover location to another location in Orland Park.
- Board agreed to make additional capital improvements to our parks, roads and technology infrastructure.
- Stronger relationships with our neighbors – Mokena, Frankfort, Palos Park, Tinley Park, Orland Hills, New Lenox and the Will County Center of Economic Development.
There are many other additional initiatives to look forward to in the New Year that cannot yet be announced.
I appreciate everyone’s input and support and hope that everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!