Morton mayor-elect shares his vision

Steve Stein GateHouse Media Illinois
Mayor Ron Rainson speaks during the Forecast Breakfast.

Mayor-elect Ronald Rainson’s speech Tuesday at the annual Morton Forecast Breakfast focused more on the past than the future.

Rainson reignited several campaign issues at the Morton Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event.

“It was said I’m going to send Morton back to the Dark Ages and decimate the village’s budget,” he said. “But I’m a conservative who is easy to work with.”

Using slides and humor, Rainson reiterated his opposition to a $22,000 water park feasibility study funded with hotel/motel taxes and expansive plans for a downtown plaza.

Rainson showed a slide of a kids’ pool and said that’s his idea of a water park. For the plaza, he showed slides of a park bench to illustrate his vision.

Architects have estimated the cost of the plaza at $2.5 million, but the Village Board has formed a committee to study ways to reduce costs.

Village and Morton Economic Development Council officials say donations and grants would provide most of the funding for plaza construction.

Sister city arrangements and Morton’s plans to build a new fire station also were subjects of Rainson’s slides.

“These slides are silly, of course. Everyone in this room worries and cares about Morton,” he said.

He said Illinois has “the resources of a country” but the finances of Greece, and “we have a federal government that spends money faster than it can print it and a Congress that can’t cut spending.”

For those reasons, he said, Morton needs to protect itself to remain safe and debt-free.

“I want us to grow. But I want us to grow more slowly than others do and ask more questions as we go,” he said.

Rainson will be sworn in May 6 at the next Village Board meeting. He defeated Village Board member Stephen Newhouse 54 percent to 46 percent in the April 9 election. Newhouse remains on the board.