By Charlie Feldman
The changing of the guard in Glen Carbon brings former mayor Rob Jackstadt’s 22 years of service to the village to a close. As he looks back at the things he’s accomplished over the years both he and newly elected mayor Bob Marcus look forward to the future of the community. Marcus, a lawyer for the Gori Law Firm in Edwardsville, has been a trustee for the past four years.
Marcus is formulating his plans for Glen Carbon.
“My plans so far are to focus on the ongoing projects of the village,” he said, “which includes the potential development of the Foucek Property on 159, the transition of our water source, we’ll be also focused on hiring a new public works director.”
This will replace Jennifer Doody, who resigned last year and took a job with Illinois American Water.
His background as a lawyer will be a plus while doing his job, according to Marcus. “I think it will be helpful in analyzing the problems that come before the mayor,” he said. “I’ve done a similar task as a trustee reviewing plats, plans, drawings and analyzing ordinances. In coming to my decisions as mayor I plan to do a similar analysis. I also think as a lawyer I know a lot of people in town and I have talked to a lot of them through my job and I hope to use my connections to better serve the village.”
Marcus plans to make himself visible to the people. “Very visible,” he said. “I plan to have open lines of communication with our residents. I’ve given everyone my cellphone number. I have meetings scheduled in the village two or three times a week for residents that want to voice concerns and just so that we get that steered in the right direction, trying to address their issues.”
That includes improving the quality of life in Glen Carbon. “It’s one of our goals to keep the taxes down, our tax levy and tax rate down to continue that trend that Mayor Jackstadt has set,” he said. “We need smart, responsible developments in Glen Carbon that will help improve the quality of life and also attract jobs to the village, which will help our residents.”
Now that he has become mayor, he expects his own quality of life to change as well.
“I think I’ll be focused more on mayoral tasks than I have as a trustee. Although there’s less meetings to attend there is more functions, there is more calls, there is more emails to address and so I think I’ll be focused on that,” he said.
“But again, it is a part-time job,” Marcus said. “We have a full-time village administrator that is fully capable of handling the day to day operations, the firm while I focus on setting policy on steering the village in the right direction.
Like the former mayor, he sees positive changes coming to Glen Carbon over the next 20 years.
“Glen Carbon in 2040?” Marcus asked. “I see it as a continuing, thriving community with strong development, increased number of residents and just a great community as a whole to live, work and raise a family.”
While Jackstadt’s family is looking forward to spending more time with him, Marcus’ is getting ready for their new adventure.
“They are on board,” he said. “They’re fully committed. We’re in now and we’re excited for the opportunity.”
Jackstadt has a long list of accomplishments since he took office in May 2005.
“Overall, (1) we improved transparency and communication, (2) we modernized Glen Carbon village government for the 21st century and (3) we operated the village more like a business,” he wrote to the Times-Tribune.
“I am particularly proud that we have maintained a very, very competitive municipal real estate tax year that has decreased during my 16 years,” he wrote.
“Keep in mind,” he added, “none of the accomplishments would have happened without the support of our department heads and my colleagues on the Village Board.”
Transparency and communication, for example. He opened board meetings to anyone who wanted to speak on any topic and stopped requiring that they preregister. He created the village’s residents and business advisory boards, encouraged residents to enroll in the Vmail system to keep current on village issues and required board members and department heads to fill out Gift Ban Act forms declaring any gifts received from prohibited donors.
While he was mayor, the village published a newsletter, The Communicator, and posted village board meeting information packets on the website. It encouraged intergovernmental agreements with Edwardsville on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Pool and TheCenter under construction. It revamped Homecoming so it made money instead of losing it from the general fund every year, according to Jackstadt. It developed employment policies that reduce the risk of litigation against the village.
But Jackstadt did not get to do all that he wanted to as mayor.
“Two things come to mind,” he wrote. “First, I regret that Glen Carbon has not been able to hire a qualified African American police officer, despite my efforts to legally hire one. I do believe, we have made great strides towards attracting minority candidates and hopefully Glen Carbon will hire a qualified African Americans police officer.
“I also regret that I was not able to persuade my mayoral colleagues in Madison County to support the development of the University Town Center Project back in 2009-2010,” he added. “Local neighboring mayors fought this unique-to-this-area destination development which would have included a Lego Land, Nebraska Furniture and other commercial development. The former Edwardsville mayoral administration led the efforts to defeat the star bonds legislation that could have provided unique development to Madison County and helped Edwardsville CUSD 7 real estate taxpayers, since it would not have been in a Tax Increment Finance District.”
The village has seen many changes since his first day in office.
“Glen Carbon has had manageable population growth since 2005 going from about 11,000 residents to just over 14,000 residents,” he wrote.
“Commercial development continued to increase during my 16 years, which can provide some real estate tax relief to our Glen Carbon residents since new commercial development increases our real estate EAV and may also increase our annual sales tax receipts,” he added.
“Our sales tax receipts continue to increase over the last 16 years,” he wrote. “Glen Carbon has two major road improvements since 2005, the East Glen Crossing Road reconstruction running from 159 east to Old Troy Road and more recently the Old Troy Road Reconstruction.
“Glen Carbon residents continue to become more involved and engaged,” he added. “Our residents and taxpayers are more knowledgeable because of the information we provide via our various communication vehicles.”
“With smart growth, Glen Carbon will continue to prosper,” he wrote. “We should never grow just for growth sake. Not all growth is a positive for our community.
“Glen Carbon should continue to work with all taxing districts on a case by case basis to see how they can work collaboratively on projects that saves taxpayers money,’ he wrote. He also believes that the village should work with the separate Fire Protection District as it eventually moves from a part-time paid-per-call system to a full-time firefighting staff.
Glen Carbon should work with our separate Fire Protection District as it eventually moves from a part time paid per call system to a full time firefighter staff.
“There is nothing major I would like to change,” he wrote.
“I relish my time as a public servant and cannot thank enough my supporters over the years and elections,” Jackstadt wrote. “I met some wonderful people over the last two decades and feel lucky that I was able to serve our community. I will miss the people the most.
“I am not retiring from my full time practice of law. I have practiced for 34 plus years and I am l really looking forward to continuing that with that for many more years,” he wrote. “I simply plan to spend more of my discretionary time with my wife and my six (soon to be seven) grandchildren.”
Jackstadt thanks the residents of Glen Carbon for “allowing me to serve them.”
“Of course, I want to thank my three kids that tolerated all things having to do with elections and holding public office My now adult kids were 13, 16 and 19 when I first ran for mayor in 2005,” he wrote. “But most of all, I want to thank my best friend and wife Kathi Jackstadt for her love, support and patience over the last 22 years.”