West U. City Council candidate Brian Hoogendam stands out as the only one of the six candidates who did not support the $13.8 million parks bond in November of last year.
“I didn’t like the numbers, frankly, and no one could tell me how much it was going to cost to get into the pool,” said Hoogendam. “We could have a situation like Bellaire, where it would cost me $22 to take my family (of four) to the pool.”
He also says he doesn’t believe that the bonds will only raise residents’ taxes by $7 per month, as was represented by the city. “When I looked at these two factors, I thought I can’t with good conscience vote for this,” said Hoogendam, who added that he is a supporter of parks, lives next to a park, and he and his family regularly use Colonial Park facilities and the Rec. Center when it was open.
Hoogendam says he decided to run for two reasons – he saw a missing demographic on the current council and he loves the city. He ran for council two years ago, but dropped out of the race due to health issues with one of his children.
“I have three kids under the age of 8,” said Hoogendam. “The current council makeup, none of them have any kids that are really even teenagers – they are all grown and old. I think we need some people on council representing the issues of people under the age of 65 who have young kids. I plan to live here a long time – I want to make sure the long-term planning of the neighborhood makes sense for the people who are going to be here for 30 years…”
Hoogendam says the three biggest issues facing the city right now are the parks planning budget process, conservative spending and the preservation of old-stock housing.
“I want it to come in on budget,” he said about the parks redevelopment. “The second thing is that over the next two to four years we may not see the increase in property values we have seen, so we need to be very conscious on how we need to spend our money.”
His third priority – old stock housing – he says is a passion of his. His first home in West U. was built in 1938, and his current home was built in 1948 and remodeled in 1978.
“Some of the bungalows, they can remodel much further back on the property then new construction,” said Hoogendam.