Junction City, Kansas
Bachelor's Degree, B.S. Civil Engineering, University of Kansas
Civil Engineer/Senior Project Manager, SE3, LLC
Married, Ellen Louise Gauntt
Alesha Marie Gauntt, 18
Zachary Allen Gauntt, 16
On the Record
What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?
Prior to moving to the Geneva area 12 years ago, I was a Village Trustee in Hanover Park and before that the Chairman of the Development Commission. While living here I’ve been elected as a Precinct Committeeman. In my career, I have designed numerous recreational facilities, working for Park Districts and School Districts. I was the Construction Administrator for the construction of a private gymnasium. The experience that I’ve gained as a Village Trustee and the Chair of the Development Commission helps me to understand how government works; taxes, levies, ordinances, etc. My experience as a civil engineer helps me to understand how facilities are designed and constructed. However, I think the most pertinent experience I have is spending 8 years as an assistant baseball coach for the Geneva Baseball Association. It has been such a treat to help coach these boys that are now developing into fine young men.
What are your top two or three priorities if elected?
1. Maintaining the facilities that we have. As a relatively built-out community we have a number of park facilities throughout the City and the unincorporated areas within the Park District. Some of those facilities are in need of repair and/or upgrade. I want to make sure that the staff focuses their resources on maintaining and upgrading those facilities before we expand into new ones. 2. Although the Geneva Park District’s percentage of the property tax bill is only about 5.5% of what we pay in total, it is important to remember that many of us have gone through periods over the last four years where paychecks have been lower than we had been used to or non-existent. Any spending has to be viewed within that prism. All of the programs and purchases have to be balanced against whether it is truly a needed expenditure and the lifecycle cost.
Would you support freezing your taxing district’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?
Tax levies are a complicated issue. There are parts of the tax levy that are, for all practical purposes predetermined. These include bond repayment, pension obligations, etc. In fact, there is a separate levy for the Park District Pension, which probably cannot be frozen. There are always minor fluctuations in the levy based on Equalized Assessed Value and other condition, so a “freeze” in the levy, while a nice soundbite, is not always practical. That said, I will not vote for an increase in the levy based on any program expansion until there is a rebound in the housing prices. Even after that, I would be highly reluctant to appreciably increase the levy. We need to increase revenue though growth, not additional taxation.
What one decision by the board do you most disagree with and why?
It’s difficult to second guess the existing Board without the privlege of the information and presentations that they have had for years. However, I would probably not have voted for the extent of development on the northern portion of the Peck Farm natural area (Phase III and IV). The area is well served by natural areas provided by the Kane County Forest Preserve District. While I believe that natural areas are a function of the Park District, I would have liked to have seen those expenditures in other areas. The Park District is committed to making some improvements based on the agreement with the Peck family to acquire the land, and those commitments should be honored. I just believe that there are other uses that are better suited for that property.
What was the biggest accomplishment of the board in the past year?
First and foremost, I think the Board and staff has done a great job of keeping the Park District running and providing a level of service during the tough economic times that we have had. Tax revenue has been somewhat stagnant over the last several years while costs have gone up. Through this, the Park District has moved along with little disruption to the public. Certainly the reconstruction of Island Park Bridge is a major accomplishment. It was a difficult project to complete and during the construction, there were a number of activities that had to be accommodated. All of this happened with few hiccups.
Why should voters elect you to office?
For me, this is not just any position. There was only one position that I wanted to run for because of my experience and expertise. I have always had a passion for recreational facilities and my design background will allow me to make a contribution to the Board. I’ve been attending the Park District meeting since the Spring of 2012 in order to get to know the activities and the organization of the Board and staff. I felt that it was important to know the job before taking it. I hope this shows my dedication to the position and the commitment that I will make if I am fortunate enough to be elected by my fellow residents.
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