MIHELICH THANKS PARENTS, SAYS FATHER WOULD BE ‘REALLY PROUD’ OF HIS EFFORTS TO GIVE BACK TO THE CITY OF JOLIET
(Joliet, Ill) “I was born and raised in Joliet. For the first 12 years of my life I did not have hot water in my home,” Mihelich said at the University of Saint Francis Mayoral Debate Thursday in Joliet. Mihelich slept on the couch in his family’s living room until his parents moved to larger home at 210 Ross Street in Joliet. His parents lived there until Andy’s mother’s death in 1996. “I am thus very sympathetic to homeowners who tell me they have to take fewer showers because they cannot afford their water bill.”
Mihelich explained through hard work, education, the help of his parents, and prayer, he was able to get to where he is today. Now, instead of retiring he’s offering to use his skills and abilities to give back to the City of Joliet, which made him the man he is today.
In 1969, Mihelich graduated from Joliet Catholic High School and in 1973 graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in Business. In 1985 and 1986 Mihelich led his family’s “Set the Captives Free” campaign after his uncle (and Joliet Hero) Fr. Lawrence Martin Jenco was taken hostage in the Middle East my Islamic terrorists.
For 30 years Mihelich helped Joliet families find success through education at Joliet Junior College. During that time he earned 2 graduate college degrees. He retired as an Associate Vice President. For 20 of those years Mihelich directed all of the college’s economic development and worker retraining programs.
“Residents of Joliet, let me speak to you directly and from the heart,” Mihelich said during the opening statement. “I know you are suffering. You pay too much in taxes, your water bill is too high and crime and illegal drugs are a part of this community.”
“Our current city council has squandered or lost millions of your tax dollars. Everyone is concerned about how they are going to make ends meet,” Mihelich added.
At the debate Mihelich put to rest what he called misconceptions.
He said that as mayor he would balance the city budget with no increase to property taxes and water rates. The budget he said would also meet the city’s commitments to the police and fire pension funds. “Our current City Council has not funded these obligations. We need to meet our commitments to retirees; we owe it to our city retirees!”
What sets Mihelich apart from his 8 opponents is his in-depth accounting and leadership skills that have provided unprecedented light on the city’s financial circumstance. “To balance the city’s budget, with a forecasted $27 Million deficit without reducing personnel costs would require a 77% increase in property taxes,” Mihelich highlighted.
“Hopefully, none of my opponents want to raise property taxes by 77%,” Mihelich said. “If they are unwilling to significantly increase property taxes, they cannot continue to skim over the issue of personnel reductions.”
“Tough decisions on personnel costs have to be made and I am prepared to make these tough decisions. No one said addressing personnel costs would be easy or painless. I did not get us into this mess, but I am prepared to get us out of this mess. The City Council not only sold out the taxpayers of Joliet, they sold out the city’s employees. The employees should not be held accountable. Our City Council should be held accountable,” Mihelich said.
Where were their plans before they decided to run for mayor, Mihelich asked. “Where are their plans even today? “When casino revenue is down 40% and new development revenue is down 95%, the current salary structure cannot be maintained. Just like a household budget, the City of Joliet has to live within its means. Their tax and spend policy to maintain the status quo has to end,” Mihelich boldly stated.
Mihelich concluded by reiterating that the City needs need safe and clean neighborhoods. “We need to create awareness on the problems of gangs, illegal drugs, and the homeless and work to solve these problems,” Mihelich said. “My name is Andy Mihelich and I am asking for your vote on April 5th.”
Andrew “Andy” Mihelich is the son of Joliet residents Andrew and Verna Mae (Jenco) Mihelich, both deceased. The Mihelich and Jenco families have been a part of the Joliet community for more than 100 years. “My dad worked religiously to provide a better life for his children. I know he’s looking down upon me now with pride. I want the families of Joliet to have the same opportunities I had growing up. I’m running for mayor to give back to this community that has given me and my family so much,” Mihelich said.
Learn more about Andy Mihelich at his website, http://andyformayor.com