Stephanie Gandsey: 2021 candidate for Bartlett Village Trustee
Five candidates for three 4-year terms
Age on Election Day: 39
Occupation: Marketing and Communication professional
Employer: DHJJ Certified Public Accountants and Business Advisors; Leadership Extension Consulting, Inc.
Civic involvement: I served on the Economic Development Commission from 2017-2020; Before I was on the EDC or Board, I had presented multiple times to the Village and Chamber on marketing and communication topics.
Q. What is the primary reason you're running for office? What is the most important issue?
A. The primary reason I am running for office is that I want to be active in the planning of the future of Bartlett and I feel my background offers a different viewpoint to help with the strategies and planning. Currently, the biggest issue is managing the Village and its residents and businesses through the pandemic. However, I want to assist with the long-term plan -- what will Bartlett be in the years to come?
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. I believe it's important for local governments to be involved in getting their communities to the other side of this pandemic. We need to understand what the state and federal governments are doing to help individuals and businesses and continuously communicate the changes or programs available. Top of mind for most individuals right now is getting a vaccination. As a trustee, I want to work with the Village on the selection, coordination, and management of vaccination sites as well as engaging and communicating with residents.
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. The Village updated businesses through emails on different orders issued by the state as well as programs available through county, state, and federal government. Although the Village did a great job updating social media with information for individuals, I would like to discuss the potential to add emails and other touch points to residents as well.
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 we need to continue with communicating the guidelines now and have documentation on lessons learned from this time so we are better prepared for any future health crises.
Q. What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A. The village is talking about postponing the increase to water again this year (It was postponed last May 2020). However, I want to ensure that when it increases more in the following years, it's not more of a burden to residents than a gradual increase. I am open to explore where other cuts may exist.
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. The Bittersweet wastewater treatment plant is scheduled to be rehabilitated. In lieu of cuts to future projects, however, I am focused on continuing to grow the commercial presence in Bartlett to bring in additional revenue for the village. My goal is to reduce the tax burden on residents through commercial growth as opposed to service and necessary infrastructure cuts.
Q. Do you agree or disagree with the stance your municipality has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A. The Village has been thoughtful on recreational marijuana sales (based on reading previous meeting minutes) in Bartlett. At this point, I would not change anything, but as time goes on, we may need to reevaluate and update the policies.
Q. What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A. I would really like to see community surveys conducted every 2-3 years to see the sentiment of Village Residents and Business owners. There have been focus groups in the past, but I feel a full survey that we can benchmark every few years will help with long-term planning.