Gayle Vandenbergh: Candidate Profile
Hoffman Estates Village Board (4-year Terms)
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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
City: Hoffman Estates
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Hoffman Estates Village Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Two children. Daughter Amy is married to John Parks. They reside in Cary, IL and have two children. Henry, age 3 and Hailey, age 11 months. Son Matt is married to Elida. They reside in Naperville, IL. Both children gradulated from Hoffman Estate
Occupation: I am the Marketing and Office Operations Manager of W-T Engineering, Inc. I have been employed at W-T since 1998. W-T Engineering, Inc. is a Hoffman Estates based consulting engineering company that is very active in the charities and organizations of H
Education: I have a BS degree in Home Economics Education from Iowa Wesleyan College.
Civic involvement: Current Civil Involvement includes:
(1) Hoffman Estates Park District Foundation (Friends of HE Parks) - Trustee since 2004. Current position: Vice President. (2) Schaumburg / Hoffman Estates Rotary Club - Member since 2004
Rotarian of the Year - 2011
Paul Harris Fellow - 2008 and 2011
(3) Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce - Board of Directors Member
(4) Rotary International - Member
(5) National PTA - Honorary Life Member
(6) Mother's Of Eagle Scouts - Founding Member
Past Civic Involvement include: Plan Commission member for the Village of Hoffman Estates; 50th Anniversary Commission member for the Village of Hoffman Estates; Board of Director member for Township High School District #211 Foundation; Executive Director for the Northwest Executive Club of Chicago; Board of Director member for the Far Northwest Suburban United Way; Booster Club President for Hoffman Estates High School; and President of the PTA for Churchill School in District #54.
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
I would like to help formulate a concrete program to creatively market Hoffman Estates. We need to showcase Hoffman Estates as a place for new residents to call home, new businesses to relocate and because of what we have to offer as a destination for tourists. I would like to see Hoffman Estates become the most business friendly village it can be to developers. I would like to see developers want to bring new business into Hoffman Estates because the process is not full of red tape. Combining the Plan Commission and Zoning Board was one effort to helping developers. As a result of combining these two boards, developers need only attend one meeting before presenting their project for final approval before to Village Board, but more should be done.
Key Issue 2
Maintain a balanced village budget and reserve and making sure our village is financially sound. Having strict controls in place and maintaining fiscally responsible principles is important.
Key Issue 3
Is Hoffman Estates receiving the revenue they had hoped for by installing red light cameras? According to a letter obtained through the Freedom of Information Act the Village has cameras at two locations within the village. From August, 2011 to September, 2012, with these two cameras, the red light camera company received $229,756.00 in revenue from 2,804 tickets being issued. The cost of the cameras and a portion of every fine paid to the red light camera company takes a large percentage of the fine paid. Of $229,756.00 being paid to the red light camera company from ticket revenue, the share to Hoffman Estates was $48,284. Hoffman Estates only receives approximately $17.22 per ticket. My concern with the red light cameras is that panic stops occur and cause accidents by drivers who need to stop too quickly. The Red light camera company is getting rich while we have safety issues. The red light cameras do not generate a large revenue stream for Hoffman Estates and I feel they should be removed.
Which areas of the village are you making it a priority to develop in the next four years and with what type of businesses specifically?
There are many areas of the village that I would like to see developed. (1) The first would be in the western area of Hoffman Estates at Beacon Pointe and Beverly Road intersection. This parcel of land would be a hub for the residents who live in the western area. Retail such as a grocery store and gas station would be a wonderful addition. As a previous member of the Hoffman Estates Plan Commission, I saw developers bring options to this area. It would be nice to find the right fit. (2) There are many vacancies in the Prairie Stone business park. Land is readily available for developers to build on. (3) Hoffman Village has a wonderful anchor with Mariano's. However there are many unfilled storefronts in this shopping center. Securing new tenants of all varieties would be important to that shopping center. (4) The entertainment district at 59/90 is a huge draw for everyone. But again, there are many unoccupied store fronts. I would like to see them filled. Hoffman Estates uses the tag line: Growing to Greatness. Let's continue with our growth and make it as great as we can.
Are there changes you would propose regarding the multi-village Fourth of July celebration at the Sears Centre?
There are a few changes I would like to see happen for future years to come. (1) Each village that participates in the fest should pay an equal share in the events. Hoffman Estates will be paying $15,000 toward the fireworks this year. The fireworks will cost $39,000. This is not an equal share. (2) Corporate sponsorships from the contributing communities could fund the different areas of the fest. (i.e.: fireworks, parade, entertainment, beer tent, etc.) This would help alleviate some of the taxpayers' burden to foot the bill. The money saved would be better spent on village services. (3) Traffic control during the fireworks will need to be reviewed. With everyone leaving at the same time, thousands of spectators tried to leave Prairie Stone business park all at one time. The parking personnel who were hired by the village were unequipped to deal with the mass exodus of all the spectators. Trained traffic control officers are needed with better traffic flow options. (4) The residents who live close to the Sears Centre found that their neighborhoods were being used as parking lots. No Parking signs should be posted in the near-by neighborhoods that would prevent this problem. (5) Last year the fireworks lasted 18 minutes. One reason for the shorten time was because shells did not explode as planned by the fireworks company. I would like to see some sort of recourse in the contract if this happens again.
Is the Sears Centre performing up to residents' expectations? If yes, do you support any changes going forward. If no, what specifically should the village be doing (or stop doing) to improve it?
When the Sears Centre was built, the residents of Hoffman Estates had high hopes for the arena. I was a member of the Hoffman Estates Plan Commission as the project was presented to the Board for review and approval. What a wonderful start it had with different events and concerts such as Billy Joel, The Who, The Eagles, Daughtry, Duran Duran, Faith Hill, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Matchbox Twenty, Taylor Swift, etc. Concerts and sporting events were standard practice at the Sears Centre. Since I live and work in close proximally, it was exciting to see what was going on there. The Village of Hoffman Estates now owns the Sears Centre after acquiring it a few years ago. It seems since this has happened, the Sears Centre has been struggling. Large concerts are few and far between and sports teams have come and gone (Chicago Express, Chicago Hounds, Chicago Shamrox, and the Chicago Storm). To fill the hall, smaller events have taken place. Bull Riding and Monster Trucks are still popular, but the crowd draw does not seem to be what it was in the beginning. It is sad to see a sport team leave because of the league folding, or poor attendance. It is sad to see concerts cancel and not bring in the box office revenue that might be expected. The debt payment is quite large and Hoffman Estates is responsible now for the payment. I have a few suggestions to make it as successful as it once was. (1) Retain an improved marketing firm to bring in the large acts that attract more spectators. (2) Attract corporate partnerships and sponsorships to alleviate some of the cost burden. (3) Make sure that the Sears Centre is operating on Green Initiatives. Has a study been done to see how operating cost can be reduced or eliminated by being green? (4) Lower the parking cost. Ticket prices are high enough without paying $20 per car. (5) Continue with culturally expanded events to include all nationalities to draw as many spectators as possible. I would like to see the Sears Centre succeed and thrive and live up to its full potential.
Given the delicate balance between the need for revenue and over-taxing local businesses, what is your opinion of the village's present level of local sales taxes? Is the tax just right, too low or too high? Explain.
Hoffman Estates has many kinds of taxes that residents may have to pay (depending on their circumstances). (1) Hotel Tax (2) Real Estate Transfer Tax (3) Home Rule Sales Tax (4) Telecommunications Tax (5) State Sales Tax (6) Local Use Tax (7) Income Tax If our taxes were lower or eliminated for some of these different areas, would we have increased sales volume in Hoffman Estates? Are we pushing businesses out of Hoffman Estates because of the taxes they must pay? Are we pushing consumers to shop in other villages because of our increased taxes? It is hard to say, but it is important that revenue be generated to pay for the village services that are needed. Due to the financial stress of paying for the new Village Hall, Fire Station #24, Sears debt, etc, the residents of Hoffman Estates will probably have to pay these taxes.
What are the village's biggest public safety concerns? Explain the concern as you see it, and discuss how you think it should be addressed.
Safety concerns in our village are an important issue.
(1) We have a wonderful new fire station in the western area of our village. Station #24 is a fire station that we can be proud of. It is LEED Certified and the residents should be very pleased and satisfied with its many safety features. However, there are other fire stations in our village that need attention. My concern is if the new fire station #24 should have been scaled down financially, and other stations given some consideration. Also, the old fire station on Pratum Avenue has not been sold yet and still remains as a liability to the village.
(2) Red light cameras: Is Hoffman Estates receiving the revenue they had hoped for by installing red light cameras? According to a letter obtained through the Freedom of Information Act from Patricia Foy Cross, Assistant Corporation Counsel, the Village has cameras at two locations within the village. From August, 2011 to September, 2012, with these two cameras, the red light camera company received $229,756.00 in revenue from 2,804 tickets being issued. The cost of the cameras and a portion of every fine paid to the red light camera company takes a large percentage of the fine paid. Of $229,756.00 being paid to the red light camera company from ticket revenue, the share to Hoffman Estates was $48,284. Ms. Cross's letter shows that Hoffman Estates only receives approximately $17.22 per ticket. My concern with the red light cameras is that panic? stops occur and cause accidents by drivers who need to stop too quickly. The Red light camera company is getting rich while we have safety issues. The red light cameras do not generate a large revenue stream for Hoffman Estates and I feel they should be removed.
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