Orland Park is one of the best places to live, work, and play, and we’re working every day to keep it that way.
We are driving economic development so we can create good-paying jobs, grow revenue for the village in place of increased taxes and fees, and provide opportunities for our families looking for activities right here in our vibrant community. We are especially focused on developing the I-80 corridor, enhancing our downtown, and protecting our mall. We’re diversifying our economy while keeping the retail, restaurant, and auto sectors strong. Major businesses, small businesses, manufacturers, and restaurants are responding positively to our efforts and opening in our village.
We are cutting spending, balancing our budget, paying down debt, and lowering taxes. When Mayor Pekau took office, we were careening towards a fiscal cliff with depleted reserves, an unbalanced budget, and out-of-control spending. In the last four years, we’ve used technology to increase efficiency and cut operating expenses by 13.9%, including reducing staff by 9.5% while improving services. We’ve paid down $37 million in debt and rebuilt our reserves. And, most importantly, we’ve lowered property taxes by 3%.
We are also keeping our families safe and our neighborhoods secure. Thanks to the finest police department in all of Illinois, and under the leadership of Chiefs McCarthy and Mitchell, Orland Park is once again rated one of the safest towns in America. We’ve had the lowest or 2nd lowest violent crime rate in towns of our size in Illinois for three straight years. Crime has gone down each of the past four years. In fact, in 2019 we had the lowest number of crimes in the past 25 years, and in 2020 it’s down another 29%. Even while surrounding communities were terrorized with rioting and looting, we proactively kept our residents and businesses safe.
Finally, we are investing in improving our roads, infrastructure, and parks. Before Mayor Pekau took office, over 40% of our roads were in poor or very poor condition after years of underinvestment. Former Mayor McLaughlin’s administration was only investing in improving a single park every two years. In just four short years, we’ve laid the foundation for a sustainable infrastructure plan that responsibly maintains our roads and parks. Over the last two years, we increased our road resurfacing from just 9 of our 249 road regions to 32, and instead of only refurbishing one park we made major improvements to 7 neighborhood parks & John Humphrey Complex, resurfaced 8 tennis and 10 basketball courts, and installed 7 pavilions.