Timothy Hoeft: 2021 candidate for Huntley village president
In the race for Huntley Village President, Trustee Timothy Hoeft is challenging incumbent Chuck Sass for the top spot in the April 6, 2021, consolidated election.
Occupation: Engineer/excavation contractor -- President
Employer: TJH Contracting Inc.
Civic involvement: Village of Huntley Trustee (2015-Present); VOH Plan Commission (2013-2015); VOH Zoning Board of Appeals (2011-2013); Huntley Lions Club member (2007- 2018); Huntley Chamber of Commerce Charter Member; Huntley Harvesters 4-H Club Leader (1999-2021); Lifelong member of First Congregational Church of Huntley
Q. How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state and federal authorities?
A. As village president, I think all three of these options apply.
First, I would have to take in to account the state and federal "guidelines" to know what options are available to us at the village level.
Second, I would research, request feedback from knowledgeable resources and investigate what the short- and long-term impacts on our community will be.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, I will provide leadership making informed decisions for the best interest of our community as a whole, knowing the outcome may or may not be popular with some constituents.
Q. Did your town continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A. I think the village staff did an outstanding job serving our constituents while trying to minimize the disruption of our daily services; especially taking into consideration how quickly guidance evolved from a state and federal perspective.
Examples of community events or plans the Village of Huntley "tweaked" to make work during the pandemic include: implementing public outdoor dining options to help our local businesses accommodate social distancing guidelines; opening the "farmers market" and adjusting to foster social distancing. We moved Fourth of July Fireworks to Labor Day to allow for more time to plan how to safely celebrate while incorporating social distancing and other recommended guidelines.
From my perspective, and looking at past experiences, I would encourage more two-way communication with our residents to better assess our community needs.
As we continue to move through the phases of this pandemic, I would re-evaluate and adjust as appropriate to ensure a balance between public safety and the delivery of services to Huntley residents.
Q. In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?
A. I believe in less government in our daily lives, as this pandemic is not a "one size fits all" scenario.
As always proper sanitation efforts and self-isolation if you are sick or not feeling well would be a good start. We don't know what any future public health crisis will look like and will have to evaluate what is happening at that time.
Communication and transparency are of key importance at all times. We have to be ready to handle what transpires, and be able to adjust and adapt in a responsible manner just like we have with COVID-19. The village does have emergency plans in place that ensures the delivery of services to our residents.
Q. What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A. During the six years I have served as village trustee, the village of Huntley has maintained a very conservative approach to the annual budget.
This has led to excellent community services at the lowest possible cost. I don't see how we could cut cost without having a negative impact on the services the village provides.
The village board voted to keep the village tax levy flat again this year, just as we have done in the past.
One thing we can do is welcome new business and development opportunities to help reduce the tax burden to our existing residents. Growth must not only pay for itself, but also provide future financial and community benefits to our residents.
Q. What do you see as the most important infrastructure project you must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what infrastructure project can be put on the back burner?
A. There has been speculation recently that Metra is looking to provide passenger rail service to Huntley. We will have to determine the best location for a station within the village limits and evaluate the costs associated with this endeavor. This project will be federally, state and locally funded.
This will be a major infrastructure project and we will have one chance to get it done correctly.
The Village of Huntley has an annual infrastructure program that we use for the maintenance and reconstruction of our existing infrastructure. The funds needed for these projects have been part of a multiyear plan which include motor fuel tax dollars. Huntley grew at a very fast pace during the early 2000s, as a result of that growth a majority of our infrastructure is aging at the same rate. I will not put infrastructure maintenance or replacement on the "back burner" because neglecting it will only cost us more down the road.
Q. Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A. I agree with the stance our board has taken. I did not support allowing recreational marijuana sales in the Village of Huntley, and cited community safety issues when it was being discussed.
The village board voted 6-0 to prohibit recreational adult use cannabis businesses in the Village of Huntley on Jan. 23, 2020.
However, during that same meeting, we voted 6-0 to allow medicinal adult use cannabis businesses, within a specific zoning district with other stipulations.
As far as adult recreational use is concerned, it is legal and is a personal decision. In the future, we could evaluate the pros and cons of allowing recreational marijuana sales and make the best decision the board sees fit at that time.
Q. What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A. Technology. I am always looking at ways to be more efficient. I would like to implement "virtual conferencing or zoom meetings" in the event our village board meetings are unable to take place in person. I think all of our meetings should be "streamed live" for the public to watch as well.
Technology is a vital tool used by every department in the village. Technology is always evolving, and we need embrace those changes.
Another idea I would like to look into would be having permanent outdoor speakers in the square.
The village hosts numerous events throughout the year (Memorial Day, farmers market, Huntley Hootenanny 5K, concerts in the park, etc.) and this would add to the ambience of our friendly village. Additionally, this would alleviate potential overtime on public works staff involving set up and take down time for events held on the square, since it would be there as part of the infrastructure.
Q. What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A. I am running for village president because I see unlimited potential in Huntley's future.
I have lived in Huntley for 35 years. In 1985, Huntley was a town of 1,300 people. With the planning and vision over the past 30+ years, we have become one of Northern Illinois' premier communities with a population of 27,000+.
My passion for Huntley is why I became involved in local politics. My experience in business and engineering, serving 6 years as village trustee, along with my lifetime commitment to community service have prepared me for this endeavor.
I have led many successful contract negotiations and project developments in the past 20 years. I believe that all involved parties need to work together through negotiation and open communication for the success of a common goal. Huntley needs a leader who is transparent, trustworthy and one who will lead by example.
I am a man of my word and will keep the residents of Huntley at the forefront of every decision that is presented to the village board. We have so much to be proud of in our past but must always be planning for the future generations to come.