Keith Banks and Gary Gaspard are running for Township Supervisor. The RoundTable prepared a questionnaire for both candidates on 1) justifying Township government in the light of a move to abolish it and 2) expanding Township services.
Responses from Gary Gaspard:
Abolishing the Township: In response to a question about how he would justify keeping Township government in light of pressure to abolish it coming from some residents and some aldermen who sit as Township trustees, Mr. Gaspard says, “I have pledged to my endorsers – Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and Aldermen Ann Rainey and Coleen Burrus – as I will to the residents of Evanston, that I will come up with an alternative plan to move the Township forward.”
He adds that he believes “what they wanted to abolish was high administrative cost and [have] a more fiscally responsible management of the funds.”
He says he supports returning the Township office to the Civic Center, which he says would save about $70,000 per year. “I want to work with the trustees to create a Township office that meets the needs of the Evanston residents and can work to move our Township forward. I believe … good working relationship with the residents and trustees will help move the Township forward. The Township office can become one that we are all proud of,” Mr. Gaspard says.
Expanding Township Services: In preparing for the campaign, Mr. Gaspard says, one of his first tasks was to meet with Oak Park Township Supervisor David Boulanger “regarding how they managed to get the variety of programs going at their Township. I plan to meet with Boulanger regularly as I work to create a variety of services that will work best for our specific Township.”
To communicate better with residents, Mr. Gaspard says, if elected Township Supervisor, he would create a website, join social media, establish a Township/community newsletter and take advantage of local cable television.
Mr. Gaspard says his vision for the Township is ACT: Accountability, Collaboration and Transparency. He says he would like to work on developing “more job programs, ways to help disadvantaged people move toward self-sufficiency, an emphasis on crime prevention and at-risk youth, increased educational opportunities and provision of workforce training to help improve the quality of life for our at-risk youth as an alternative to crime and other harmful behavior, support for Evanston students getting into college and help for seniors to find jobs and benefits that will help improve their health, live independently and remain active in the community.”
Finances and Tax Levy: As for finances, Mr. Gaspard said he would “set priorities to make sure the Township resources are being used in accordance with needs and eliminate needless costs.”
The Township’s tax levy, he says, has been reduced in recent years. Although revenues for the present fiscal year somewhat exceeded expenses, he says, “When we consider the Township’s operating funds, it is quite impossible to think of the difference as a surplus. We must also consider that the Township Office has to have enough capital to operate. … But one thing I can guarantee is that I will do my best to help taxpayers save as much money as possible. A win for Evanston residents is a win for our Township.”