Candidate profile: Jerry E. Albrecht

Jerry E. Albrecht
Jerry E. Albrecht

Name: Jerry E. Albrecht

Age: 75

Family: His wife, Jean; sons, Mike and Tim; and, daughter, Beth Albrecht.

Town: O’Fallon

Office Seeking: Alderman Ward 2

Occupation: Retired from the United States Air Force in 1992; and, retired from NCI Information Systems Inc. in 2010.

Previous Offices: O’Fallon Ward 7 Alderman for four terms; and, currently O’Fallon Ward 2 alderman.

Why I am running: I am running for alderman in Ward 2 because I want to continue the record we have established over the last 20 years in creating O’Fallon as a desirable and safe place to live.

What is the most important issues facing the city of O’Fallon? How would you approach it? The most important issue facing O’Fallon is the financial burden on our citizens of the combined tax demands of the county, city and the schools. While the city government can do little about the county or the school taxing, we, through smart management and encouragement of sales tax generating development, can continue to hold the line or reduce property tax rates. Careful management of tax revenues in the past has enabled us to create a reserve that will allow future actions to potentially reduce property tax. This reserve, a necessitated by the unreliable tax payments from the state, has recently reached the level where other actions are now possible. Coordination between the school districts and the city on construction projects and services could yield other potential efficiencies and savings. The corollary to this is a consistent and understandable development environment.

If you were writing a job description for the position you’re seeking, what would it say? Aldermen (and women) should have some familiarity with how a municipality operates, especially the financial aspects. This experience could be gained from direct involvement with city activities. There are a number of committees and commissions available to do this. Business experience is nice, but the city has only a limited number of resources; it is not a profit and loss operation. All of its revenue comes from the tax-payer in the form of property and sales tax, and the other assorted fees and taxes that exist. An ability to communicate with a range of people from and age and income backgrounds is also important. A significant amount of time is also required to fully understand the issues with which the city is involved. A clear understanding of the role of the council is critical. The council establishes and evaluates policy that is executed by the professional staff. The professional staff manages the operation. The staff has a full-time job managing the various aspects of the operation without answering detailed, micro-management questions generated by the council. The council member should be in a constant information gathering mode, gathering best practices and better ideas from other cities, publications and meetings.

How would you keep costs down or reduce costs in your municipality? The best way to manage costs in our city is to smartly negotiate contracts for the necessary services. There needs to be a careful balance in contracts between the city and its service providers between the cost of competitively bidding services and using pre-negotiated service contracts such as those the city uses for vehicles purchased through the state vehicle contracts. Each project needs to be evaluated on its business case. Does it represent value to the city?

In St. Clair County, there will be votes on two sales tax referendums. Do you support either or both? Why or why not? I am not familiar enough with either tax referendum proposals to give a definitive answer. The reservations I have about the school facility tax referendum is my uncertainty that the funds generated will benefit the schools in O’Fallon or be used at the discretion of the local school boards to reduce property taxes. As to the public safety tax referendum, I need to see the specific programs and projects that will benefit. The large reserve maintained by the county could be used to fund some of these projects and programs without the tax increase.

Why should people vote for me? I am asking the citizens of Ward 2 to vote for me because I believe that I have a unique understanding of the needs of our community that I have developed through my over 23-year involvement with city government and my direct involvement with community volunteer agencies. I have helped with the 20-year long record of balanced budgets, stabilized city property tax rates and conservative financial management that we need to continue. I am proud of and want to continue our outstanding record of achievement; Over $1 Billion in Private Investment, over 3,000 new homes, the Best Place for Young Families (2nd in Illinois), the Best Small City for Education and Health (30th in the US), the Best Place for Families (3rd in Illinois), the Best Community for Veterans (18 th in the US), the Best Small City (Top 8 percent in the US), and “A Good Place to Live (95 percent O’Fallon Citizen Survey.