Loves Park election heating up
By Margaret Downing
After 20 years as the mayor of Loves Park, Darryl Lindberg is stepping down, which has opened up the mayor’s position after the April 4 consolidated election. Besides two mayoral candidates: Greg Jury (Ward 1) and John Pruitt (Ward 2) – both long time aldermen, a number of people are running for other positions, which will be listed at the end of this article.
First Ward Alderman Greg Jury explains why he is running for mayor:
“Loves Park is at a crossroads as Mayor Lindberg retires. It is crucial that we continue to build on the successes that have been achieved under his leadership. My relationships with other elected officials in our region and the experience I have with local businessmen will continue to make Loves Park the place where businesses want to be located and create new jobs. The City of Loves Park has been very good to my family and me. I want to serve as Mayor to ensure that all families and businesses have the same opportunities.”
Jury believes he has the qualifications needed to be mayor.
“I have the experience; knowledge and desire to best serve the people of Loves Park. I will utilize our excellent staff to continue the day-to-day operation of providing the finest municipal services available.
“I have the proven ability to work with not just the Loves Park elected officials but elected officials across the region in order improve all of northern Illinois. In addition to my years on the city council and serving as the chairmen of the finance committee, I have been actively involved in many areas of our community as well.”
Jury also has a campaign slogan that he announced last September, which is “Continue our success.” He says he will “strive to improve our community even more. Keeping Loves Park free of a property tax is one of our main goals. That will be done by growing the sales tax base and by aggressively pursuing retail businesses and encouraging economic devel-opment of all types; the revenue generated will continue to make a property tax unnecessary.
“By maintaining the utility tax as the least expensive alternative to a property tax, we can continue balanced budgets, provide full city services and guard against the fiscal uncertainties of state budgeting and potential loss of revenue from Springfield.
“We will also develop a five-year street and infrastructure plan so residents will know when and where street and bridge repairs will take place. In addition, we need to begin the process of planning and building a new fire station and police substation to service the residents and businesses located in the eastern portion of the city.
“Resources do not exist, however to complete this project in one budget cycle, but the task of developing a plan for starting and completing this project must take place. Public safety must continue to be at the top of any list of priorities. We must ensure that our fire and police departments are fully staffed, trained and equipped with the necessary tools to keep the public safe.”
Jury continues, saying, “We are very proud that we have run a positive and honest campaign, and we have based all of our opinions on facts and solutions. If elected we will continue that positive and honest attitude and continue to improve our city and our region.
“Elected officials need to know that they are stewards of the public trust. When wrong or irresponsible statements break that trust it erodes that trust and does damage to our local government. For example: My opponent states that if elected, he would eliminate the current utility tax.
“What he doesn’t tell you is that this revenue source makes up almost 10 percent of the city’s annual revenue. There is no replacement for this revenue source other than a property tax. The city has fewer employees than 15 years ago and is already running as lean as possible. Any further cuts would seriously threaten public safety and city services. I think politi-cians should not promise more than they can deliver and should deliver what they promise.”
Second Ward Alderman John Pruitt explains why he is running for mayor:
“I have asked myself many times what qualities does a good Mayor need and do I have those qualities. A good Mayor must have knowledge of what needs to be done to move the City forward. A good Mayor must possess integrity and honesty. A good Mayor must possess leadership skills and also be able to lead by example.
“A good Mayor must be not only willing but also able to make tough decisions even when it may impact people close to him. Most importantly, a good Mayor must always put the needs of the citizens he represents as his number one purpose as a community servant. It should always be ‘People over Politics.’ I believe I possess these traits and would be the type of Mayor that Loves Park deserves, a leader not a follower.
“I have 26 years of experience as the Alderman in the Second Ward. I have also served as Chairman of the Community Development Committee for over 20 years. Additionally, I served on the Finance Committee during that same period.
“I have been personally involved in many decisions concerning land use and development in the City, including handling zoning issues for such projects as Woodward’s, Crusader Clinic, Napleton’s, Sport Score, and many more. I also chaired the Loves Park Flood Control Project as well as the Loves Park Bus Bench project. In the private sector I have 40 years experience in management with a Fortune 500 company.
Pruitt lists his goals should he become mayor:
“My platform is to improve the infrastructure throughout the City, provide premier Police and Fire protection, maintain a zero property tax levy in the City and enhance the overall image of the City. I have walked every street in the City over the past year.
“There are those who say that ‘If it’s not broke don’t fix it.’ That person has obviously not walked the same streets that I have. I’ve talked to many small business owners and asked them what the City could do to help them. Many say that im-proved streets and sidewalks would help them to grow the business simply by helping their customers to safely enter their businesses.
“I would also like to see a Fire/Police station in the Eastern Quadrant of the City. The citizens in this area are paying two to three times the insurance premiums that they should be due to a poor ISO rating. I have advocated for this for many years. My opponent just started talking about this a few weeks ago.
“I believe that as an Alderman I have exhibited the attributes to be a good Mayor. I have always put the good of the City and our citizens as number one in everything I have done. I have made a career out of doing all I could to keep taxes down while insuring that we do everything possible to maintain the high quality of service that residents deserve. I will always put ‘People over Politics.’
“I would close by saying that my opponent has accepted thousands of dollars in contributions from local land developers and contractors who would certainly benefit by his election while I have had my campaign funded by many small donations and by making personal loans to myself. If elected, I owe nothing to special interests. I will be the ‘Peoples Mayor.’”
Positions of those also running in the April election include:
Bob Burden, current city clerk – uncontested
John Danielson, current city treasurer – uncontested
Ward One – David Steffen and current alderman, Clint Little
Ward Two – current alderman, Chuck Frykman; John Lee; and David Soll
Ward Three – current alderman, Robert Schlensker – uncontested
Ward Four – current alderman, John Jacobson, and Christopher “Chris” Johnson
Ward Five – current alderman, A. Marie Holmes; and Allen Godin