Thanks To One And All

I have a tendency to be a bit long winded when it comes to presenting my position or explaining something. I want my comments to be thorough and complete as possible. That’s what the public deserves from a public official, but in this case I will try to keep my message short and simple.

I would sincerely like to thank everyone for the support they have shown me during the recent election. During every election cycle I meet new people and forge new relationship that make me a better person and a better elected official, and that is a good thing. It is now time to put the past behind us and set goals for the next several years and start working toward them.

With your help we will continue down our path to expanding our tax base and continued controlled growth that will keep this village alive and thriving into the future. Together we can accomplish much. For those whose support I have yet to achieve, I urge you to reach out to me so I can gain a better understanding of your needs and position. Again, thanks to one and all.
Sincerely,

Mike Einhorn

This Election Is Pivotal – Make Sure You Vote

The next few years will be pivotal in the history of the Village.  We have a difficult road to travel into the future.  Retail operations are in trouble throughout the entire county, industrial expansion in Illinois is a challenge, and the Indiana effect has stunted our residential growth.  We are blessed with abundant land and natural amenities, but we need to grow a little every year to survive, prosper and insure our future viability as a village.  Understanding, managing, and working through these issues should not be left to chance or inexperience.  There is too much risk for that.  I have the necessary experience, drive and ability to deal with all that faces us.  Now is not the time to gamble with Crete’s future.  I have a proven record of being a very good steward of your tax dollars and will guard them in the future.  We are working with basically the same real estate tax dollars today as we did four years ago.  I am not going to make suspicious promises like my challenger.  What I will promise is that, if necessary, I will carefully use incentives to bring new businesses to town, but it has to be good for both the business as well as the village.  With the new comprehensive plan in place we have planned out growth in an appropriate fashion by putting more intense uses out on our perimeter to allow our core residential areas to remain insulated from any adverse effects that development can bring.  I am very focused on our quality of life, and that is why I created the train horn quiet zone, and we are implementing iron removal for our water system.

I am a “hands on” public servant, making the right decisions not political ones.  I do my best to listen, do my homework, and get the facts before crucial decisions are made.  I am focused on honesty, truth, integrity, accountability, fiscal responsibility and open communication in government.  I offer proven and predictable leadership and a wealth of knowledge unmatched by any challenger.  Just because there is a write-in candidate I am not taking this election for granted and you shouldn’t either.  Your support and vote on April 4th is critical.  You and only you can make this campaign a success.  And, unlike my opponent, I haven’t had a “For Sale” sign in front of my house for the last year.  Tell your friends, family and neighbors to get out to the polls and vote tomorrow and thanks in advance for your support!

Village President Mike Einhorn

Good News About Real Estate Taxes

One of the most encouraging pieces of news that came out at the last village board meeting is that our overall property values (EAV – Equalized Assessed Value) for all properties within the Village of Crete have actually increased by almost $4.5M in the last calendar year.  This number converts to a real value increase of $13.5 million.  After six years of declining values it appears that we have turned the corner and we are on the way up, which is great news.  I am optimistic that the home rehab activity will continue, which should lead us even higher.  And as homeowners, taking care of our property is one of the basic essentials that we can all do to maintain our property values.  Committing to doing your share would be a great belated New Year’s resolution.

As a result of this modest increase in EAV it has also provided one additional benefit and that is a reduction in our tax rate by roughly 4.6 cents per $100 of EAV.  For all intent and purposes the Village will actually receive basically the same amount of real estate tax dollars this year as it did last year.  By law we could only receive seven tenths of one percent in new money, which amounts to about $19,000.00 out of a total tax amount of just over $2.5 million dollars.  Real estate taxes amount to less than 20% of the funds we collect to operate the Village.  As you can see, other forms of revenue make up the lion’s share of our revenue.  This is why shopping locally helps support your community.

As we move into the final days and hours before the election, I would like to reiterate to all that I am always available by phone to address your questions and concerns.  Just call the main village number 708-672-5431, and choose extension 130.  Leave a message for me and I will return the call as soon possible.  The message will be immediately sent to my phone via email.  Please make sure that you take time on Tuesday to go to the polls and vote.  I hope I have earned your support and look forward to working with you to make Crete a better place to live, work, and play.

Don Seehausen Facebook Response

If you haven’t heard, I have a challenger in the coming election.  Don Seehausen filed as a write-in candidate even before the petition submission time was up.  Apparently he couldn’t find the time to gather signatures to get on the ballot the old fashion way.  He has been continuously beating the same drum about what a bad guy I am because I have been in office for longer than he thinks is appropriate.  His anger seems real and his desire for power very apparent.  People/voters need to realize that the mayor/village president (once and for all they are one in the same) is nothing without a good board of trustees, and if you can’t garner their cooperation, things can go bad in a hurry.  I have seen it happen, and it is not pretty or good for a village.  What is most troubling is that he thinks that because I have been in office a long time that constitutes it as a dictatorship.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I have successfully worked with at least 16 different board groups and probably more.  What has made me and this village successful is that I recognize that nothing will get done if the board doesn’t approve it.  If you think otherwise, you are sadly mistaken.  I present clear ideas, programs, visions and proposals to the board and have to make my case using facts, not power and oppression as he suggest.  Every board member is also free to do likewise.  He is just dishing out more self-serving innuendo to spoof voters.  This Village is a $14 million dollar business that strives to make good decisions based on facts and what is good for the Village as a whole.  Running it is not to be trivialized by baseless accusations.  Someone has to be in charge and that is the Village President, not the Village Dictator.  This is not a private business where the owner is king and everyone else is a servant.

Things were much simpler when I first became village president, but through the years it has become a complex web of rules and regulations.  The Village is a complicated operation that needs constant expert attention and that is what I bring to the table.  The laws and rules are daunting and get worse with every session of the state legislature.  There is no throne that you sit on and wand that you wave to make things happen or problems appear or disappear.  It requires being on your “A” game 24/7 for fear that something will go wrong.  The mayor is responsible for it all, good or bad, and with the help of good willing trustees things run smoothly, good decisions get made, needs are met, residents can sleep at night and almost everyone is happy.  That is what I and the Board strive for.  You elect me to make sure things are run and done right, so you don’t have to worry.  I am here when you need me, all I ask is that you contact me instead of depending on social media to try and solve your problems or issues.  I will listen and tell you the truth, good or bad, and ask that you do likewise, knowing that sometimes we just won’t agree on everything.  I am not going to make wild claims of future grandeur, just that I will give you 100% all the time.

Every Day I Wake Up With One Goal In Mind

Fellow Resident,

Every day I wake up with one goal in mind, meeting the expectations of the residents of Crete by making good decisions based on sound business practices, and provide the leadership necessary to achieve the results our citizens expect.  The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality and acknowledging that reality helps define positive change.  Good leaders realize that visions must be realistic and attainable.  To that end, in 2016 we were lucky enough to secure a $100,000 grant to update our comprehensive plan for the Village.  Our residents provided significant input that helped create the vision for our town going forward, a vision that I and the Village Board share and support.  I encourage any citizen to come and visit with me at the village hall to personally discuss our goals, vision and any topic you deem as important to you or the community.  I truly enjoy interacting with residents.

As we move closer to another election cycle, I want to share some thoughts with you about where the Village is and where it is going.  Since the economic downturn several years back, we have been slowly clawing our way back through solid financial management, careful planning and conservative spending practices.  These efforts have been manifested by achieving a Standard & Poor’s general obligation bond rating of AA+; a rating that few municipalities enjoy.  We have cut our costs by not filling the village administrator and administrative assistant positions, saving tens of thousands of dollars over the last three years.  We have recently negotiated a lower rate for garbage collection that also includes a recycling option to lower our landfill costs.  We have chosen to lease police vehicles, as opposed to purchasing them outright, by taking advantage of historically low lease rates.  This approach does not deplete fund balances and provides for stable budgeting.  Stability in local government is one of the most important characteristics of a well-run village.

Going forward we are already planning for decreased funding levels as sales tax, state income tax and motor fuel tax collections are slowly shrinking, but we are determined to maintain the levels of service you have come to enjoy and expect.  At the local level, if you don’t grow, you are going backwards financially, so expanding our tax base is vital to the health of our village.  We continue to prospect for new retail opportunities by using a professional search service and through our own resources, as well as searching out economic development in the industrial sector.  Although the position of Village President is supposed to be a part time, I am putting in more than full time hours to make sure we stay on track and fulfill our obligation to our citizens.  I am proud of the fact that we have a very good reputation for getting things done and assisting businesses in being successful.  Their success becomes our success and your success.

Please support me when you go to the polls on April 4th.  I am optimistic about the future and together we can build a stronger and more successful Village of Crete.

Sincerely,

Mike Einhorn

Village President

Let Me Introduce The Village President Mike Einhorn

I am quite sure that there are lots of folks out there that don’t know much about their current Village President.  So here is a little background information about me.

  • I am a lifelong resident of Crete and a product of the Crete school system.
  • I actually worked for the Crete Public Works Department when I was 16 years old.  It was a summer job and I made $1.75 per hour and was glad to have a job. I spent a lot of time shoveling asphalt, trimming trees and cleaning sewers.
  • I went to Purdue University and graduated with a degree in Industrial Management and Finance.
  • I later went to Prairie State and got my Associates degree in Fire Science.
  • I worked for the United States Postal Service for 35 years, retiring in 2008 as a Postmaster.  I started with the post office in Matteson, then transferred to Crete.  I was promoted to a manager in 1980 and eventually was promoted to Postmaster of Beecher.
  • I am currently a part-time project manager for CET Inc. Engineers located in Portage IN.  The company primarily service the steel manufacturing industry.
  • In 1972 I joined the Crete Fire Department as a paid on call fireman.  I became a Certified FF3, and EMT and was one of the first paramedics on the department.  I was promoted from firefighter to lieutenant, captain and eventually assistant chief, a position I hold today.  I am one of the most active POC members on the department and have been so for 40 years.  Chances are that if you have some fire related incident at your home or business, your Village President/Assistant Chief will be there to help solve your problem.

As you can tell from my history, management and problem solving has been my way of life and are the things I do best.  My life experiences and education have prepared me for the variety of challenges that you face as Village President and have resulted in 28 years of success and progress for the residents of the Village of Crete.  I am very proud of what I have accomplished on behalf of the residents. .

Michael S Einhorn Village President Leadership that Listens

First of all, I would like to say to each of you that it has been my extreme pleasure serving you as Village President for the past 32 years.  When I think back, it is really amazing how far we have come and how many good changes have been made in our community.  I take this position very seriously and I sincerely want to continue to improve our community and help Crete continue to be a great place to live in, work, shop, and raise a family.  I work very hard trying to make sure that I make the best decisions possible for the long term benefit of the Village, every department performs up to its potential, and we reach our goals.  I also feel that I must continue to work hard to earn your trust and support.  I want the residents of this Village to feel confident that they are getting the most from their tax dollar and that their basic services are going to be delivered in an efficient, reliable, and cost effective fashion.  I’ve strived to run the Village like a business, keeping Crete on a steady course of improvement and paying special attention to minimizing the impact of progress on current residents.

I have always operated a very open form of government, and I have made it a practice to ask little more than moral support from the residents and business owners.  I have embraced the business community whenever possible, and together we are on the road to increasing overall economic activity within our Village.  I have put together a good team of employees that are dedicated to this philosophy, and we constantly review our operation to make sure we are achieving our goals, as well as making necessary improvements.  Cooperation, coordination, compromise, and common sense are the basis for my method of doing business.  I am very proud of the accomplishments so far, and I want the opportunity to do more.

We have worked hard at planning and laying the groundwork for the future.  During my tenure as Village President, the Village has made a significant investment in infrastructure to serve and maintain our current needs, as well as prepare for the future.  We developed a comprehensive plan for our area that designates several areas as suitable for commercial, industrial, and office research type uses, and now these investments are beginning to pay dividends to this community.  This was our biggest and most difficult challenge.  How do we capitalize on our investment?  Through our well thought out plan, we have had successes in all these areas, and we continue to look for and explore quality economic activity that will compliment our area, coincide with our values, expand our tax base, be an economic asset, and at the same time limit impact on our present residents.

Additionally, as a result of a great Village-business relationship, I am especially proud of how good the downtown is looking and the level of activity that the area is experiencing.  I foresee additional enhancements on the horizon for the downtown and north Main areas, made possible as a result of TIF revenue.  To date we have invested over $4.7 million dollars in the downtown and north Main Street TIF area.  Managed properly, our downtown has the potential to be an extremely unique and priceless asset, but it is not a given.  Vision, commitment, cooperation and realistic expectations will be the key elements to future progress.

Finally, there are a multitude of tasks and problems that confront the Village President on a daily basis.  You can be confident that I have the necessary background, knowledge, experience, education and expertise to handle all of these tasks, along with the vision and drive to make things happen.

In closing, let me emphasize, I have always been interested in public comments and input on Village operations and the direction we are taking.  I have continually encouraged residents to contact me personally with any problems or concerns, because I truly believe that it is just as important for me to keep you informed as it is for you to keep me informed.  Together, we will continue to be a premier community.  Please remember me when you vote on April 9th.

Vote for Proven Leadership in Crete       Re-elect Michael Einhorn Village President

The Public Side of Life

In a previous post I gave everyone a little history about my past private life and work experience.  I think it is important to some people that they know that side of a candidate’s life.  I think this says a little about how a person’s character is developed.  In this post, I would like to share a little about my history as it involves the Village and public service.

About Mike…

  • Lifelong resident of Crete
  • Married 27 years, no children
  • Associate’s Degree in Fire Science
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Mgmt. Purdue Univ.
  • Retired Postmaster with 35 years of service
  • Currently a P/T Project Manager, CET Inc. Engineers

My Experience

  • Village President from 1985 to present
  • Volunteer, Crete Fire Dept. 44 years, Assistant Chief 14 years
  • Chairman, Plan Commission from 1977 to 1985
  • Chairman, Eastcom Dispatch Center Board of Directors
  • Chairman, Eastern Will County Council of Mayors
  • Member, Will County Governmental League
  • Member, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus
  • South Council Rep. to CMAP Executive Council of Mayors
  • Member, South Suburban Mayor’s & Manager’s Assoc. Executive Committee & Transportation Committee Chairman
  • Board Member, Laraway Communications Center

Being involved with these organizations means that there are numerous meetings that I attend on a regular basis.  To get the most out of what these groups have to offer, attendance and participation is a must.  I make every effort to be as involved as possible, not just by attendance but by being an active and vocal participant.  That is the only way to have a positive influence on the outcome of important issues that can affect Crete and the region.  Several of these positions come as a result of my knowledge, expertise and ability in dealing with difficult issues and the interaction with other elected officials.

Through My Leadership We Have Accomplished Much

As an incumbent Mayor, I have a record to defend against my challengers that claim I have not done enough to move the Village forward.  The following is a partial list of my accomplishments during my terms as Village President.  While some use the “we need a change” slogan to try and capture votes and create confusion and doubt in voters, I assert we have constantly changed and it is called “progress“.  Through my leadership we have accomplished much! 

* indicates personal responsibility

  • Downtown Street lights – $220,000.00 grant *
  • Land plan layout for Fairway Sub-division *
  • Reed Ekal property acquisition *
  • Woodlands of Merioneth Subdivision deal w/park *
  • Bike trail over the trunk sewer line *
  • Richton Road project – Approx $7,100,000.00 grant *
  • Station #2 water tower grant $273,000.00 *
  • METRA Southeast Service –my original proposal in 1986 *
  • Water main extension to Walt’s
  • CDGB in Enterprise Sub. – $2,000,000.00 in grants
  • Main Street & Milburn intersection improvements *
  • Well 8 & 9 Grant -$200,000.00*
  • Three major trunk sewer lines installed
  • New hydrant flushing program
  • Land plan for Village property*
  • Drainage improvements – old Lincolnshire
  • Commuter rail parking lot land purchase $25,000.00*
  • Downtown TIF plan
  • Two Motor Fuel Tax major road programs – $2,000,000.00*
  • 500-acre industrial park  along Burville Road*
  • Walt’s Food Store and Ace Hardware projects*
  • Comprehensive plan with and without airport $40,000.00 grant
  • Holland Co. TIF project *
  • Techn-O-Tape TIF project *
  • North American Stone TIF project
  • DTE Crete Energy TIF project
  • Many downtown TIF projects leveraging private investment
  • South Holland Bakery Supply Project
  • $1.2M Road Grand for the C-M School District
  • CenterPoint 1,100 acre annexation and plan
  • Retail on IL 394, Kohl’s*, Culver’s*, GoLo*
  • Silliker Labs project
  • M&M Roofing
  • McDonald’s on Steger Road
  • Strip stores on Steger Road at Cottage Grove
  • Universal Steel America project
  • Well Built Equipment project
  • $368,000 paving project grant for Burville Road
  • Sewers to the properties on North Main
  • Al-Amin Brothers Transportation Project ($5.0M)
  • Holland Company office expansion project ($5.0M)
  • St James Senior Estates
  • New water tower by the high school*
  • Leveraged the power plant project to build Hartmann Dive*
  • Veteran’s Plaza project grant for $175,000
  • $160,000 grant to improve the village hall
  • Dutch American Foods development*
  • Al-Amin Transportation development*
  • Drinking water iron removal grant*
  • Road construction grants for Crete Road and Burville Road*

TIF’s, Facts Not Fiction

The purpose and function of a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District is to use the real estate tax increment generated by increasing property values within the district to help bring more value to the area by reinvesting the increment back into the district.  There is no hard and fast requirement for any TIF project to produce jobs, additional revenue, or anything tangible.  TIF has also been described as a “but for” incentive, meaning, “but for” the investment of TIF dollars, the project or property would not be done or the improvement would not be made.  Every single TIF deal is first reviewed by the TIF Advisory Board before it is referred to the Village Board for approval.  Public comment is taken at both meetings and rough guidelines have been set up to avoid abuse of the funding process.  Not all TIF funding goes to private property projects, public projects can also be funded.  As an example, we put sewers on N. Main Street, because there will be no future development in that area “but for” sewer being available to a new building or project. 

Today’s post by Mr. Seehausen regarding the private meeting recently held with property owners bordering the alley on the west side of Main Street between Exchange and Cass is nothing short of incredible.  First of all, the meeting was private for a reason.  We were trying to be sensitive to the opinions and circumstances of all involved.  If there was an owner that could not, for whatever reason, get on board with this project, we were not interested in having that become a public issue.  Pardon us for being sensitive.  The public will have ample time to review and comment on the plan once it is closer to being finalized.  This entire issue should not be a political football.  We have looked at this project several times in the past and have not acted in favor of making the improvement, because frankly, it wasn’t justified.  Just after the park district announced their dance studio and purchase of the building, we received an inquiry from a local business owner expressing concern about the parking situation.  We had no idea how many folks could possibly be using the new studio, so after checking, we decided to review our previous plans and have a preliminary meeting.  Because the plan anticipates using a layout that disregards property lines and treats the area as one large piece, buy-in is needed from all owners.  My personal observation of parking in this area is, that with rare occasion, adequate parking is available, especially in the evenings when the bank is closed.  It should also be pointed out that back in 2003 Mr. Seehausen sued the Village of Crete in an attempt to force us to close the fitness center, because some of its patrons parked in his lot.  He lost the suit, because he had a remedy, that being, to tow the vehicles, which I believe he did.  To help remedy the situation, we took over the Methodist Church parking lot as a public facility, intended for use of employees of the downtown area, but it seems he has heartburn with that also. 

To answer directly his other allegations, it should first be noted that I have never voted for a TIF project.  The projects are not “the Mayor’s”.  They are projects of various origins that have been brought to the Village Board for consideration and are all handled and reviewed for their own distinct merit.  No two are alike or treated alike for that reason.  No one has been “forced” to do anything except follow the codes as they relate to what they are trying to accomplish, like turning a house into a business.  Businesses have different requirements than homes, and we have not used TIF funds for any private single family residence.  We have purchased vacant run down property, which is an allowable expenditure, with the intention to assemble property when it becomes available, to avoid being held hostage by a future owner.  In both cases it was property within the Metra Station planning area and could be used as parking until the need changes, once the final station location is selected and designed.  This is called vision and planning ahead and acting not reacting.  All of this was discussed in open session.  The Village Board is very thorough and deliberate in their evaluation of all TIF projects.  You have to make your case to receive funds. 

As far as naming a ground up development in the downtown, I guess Mr. Seehausen forgot about Matt’s Printing.  Building an actual structure is a prohibited use of TIF funds, but in Matt’s case his funding was used for utility work and site preparation.  Remember that one of the main purposes of TIF is to provide façade restorations, especially in older areas, which we have promoted and funded by teaming with willing owners.  Mr. Seehausen has also apparently forgotten that the Edge has addressed their rear entrance area and the Park District will be doing the same.  No other TIF projects have been proposed for buildings that have alley area exposure.  And, as far as street lights are concerned, the luminaries are different in the Main Street decorative lights than in the lights on the side streets.  The State of Illinois has strict lighting standards that prohibit brighter bulbs at lower levels along state highways, such as IL Rte 1/Main Street.  That is why there are tall overhead lights mixed in along with the decorative lights on Main Street.  Everything that has been done regarding TIF has been straight forward and transparent.  I guess it takes running for office and not paying attention to justify second guessing the last 20 years of TIF work. 

Leadership, vision, planning, cooperation and compromise are what it takes to make TIF work, along with some problem solving abilities thrown in for good measure.  This is what a mayor understands and does along with a talented and educated staff of professionals.  I hope residents consider this when they go to the polls on April 9th.