High School, Homewood-Flossmoor
Bachelor's Degree, Chemical Engineering, Iowa State University
Business, Morton International (now Dow Chemical)
On the Record
What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?
From my 34-year career at Morton, I bring a corporate, business experience. As an examiner for the Illinois Performance Excellence foundation (Baldrige criteria assessor), I know what attributes an organization needs to be successful. As President of the Wedgewood Association Board (homeowners) (2004-2008), I was dealt with property, wetland and homeowner management issues, including keeping Association dues constant during my term. As President of Crystal Lake Country Club (2008-2011), we controlled finances during tough times, cutting expenses and holding dues and fees firm while increasing overall membership by 7%. As a library trustee for the past year, I gained experience with public body management, including budgeting and the tax levy process.
What are your top two or three priorities if elected?
My top priorities are keeping the City an attractive place for business and for people to live in, and serving as a steward of our tax money. For the former, I would support 3 initiatives (promoting and encouraging recreational activities, managing to the 30-yr comprehensive plan and proactively soliciting retail businesses). On stewardship, I support the efforts that the Council has made over the last couple of years to keep budgets under control. I would particularly support continuing to control personnel levels, to control project expenditures to stay within budgets, and to fund the general fund without any tax levy money.
Would you support freezing the city\'s property tax levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?
I do not support freezing CL’s property tax levy. The City has budgeted conservatively for the last couple of years, at least, and controlled expenses but faces much uncertainty from State funding and pension directions. The City has the lowest property tax of any of the other local municipalities (based on 2010). The 2012/2013 budget reflects $1 million less overall revenue (including property tax) but $4 million less expense versus current year estimated actual. Personnel vacancies remain unfilled and general operating funds are forecast to be less than the previous year’s actual. State funds and pension costs remain big unknowns. We need to make sure that we can provide the services and the level of attention that our citizens expect. We need to keep funding options open and continue controlling expenses.
What one decision by the city council do you most disagree with and why?
I disagree with the decision to waive fees for Three Oaks Recreation Area for the American Heart Association (June 21, 2011). The Council should not have to decide which charities to support or not to support. Good stewardship of our tax dollars should dictate no waiver from the established policy on these fees.
What was the biggest accomplishment of the city council in the past year?
The biggest accomplishment was completing major road improvements in 2012. These included Crystal Lake Avenue, Pingree Road at Congress Parkway, and Route 176 and Briarwood. These will keep traffic flowing more freely in the future.
Why should voters elect you to office?
I bring a different perspective to the Council. My long-term corporate professional background is unique to the council. I understand department and personnel management. I understand managing people and working with people to achieve consensus. I’ve had success with achieving cost reductions and obtaining favorable budget results. I think analytically and try to look at all aspects of a situation before making decisions.
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Jerald Darlington Jr.