BELVIDERE – In what will be the first of two elections for four seats on the Belvidere Township Board of Trustees, five Republicans are vying for the party’s nomination to move on to the April 9 general election.
The first stop will be Tuesday’s GOP primary election in which incumbents Bill Robertson and Bob Turner will face off against newcomers Kathy Grover, Richard Nelson and Cathy Ward.
The top four vote getters will advance to April 9, when they will go against Democrats Delores Puplava, Robert Smuszkiewicz, Kevin Swezey and Patrick Whitehead.
Robertson has been on the board for the past eight years. “We have a very transparent township government,” he said of the way it conducts the people’s business.
He’d like to continue being part of the board “to make sure the correct information is given to the public.” He also wants to have a hand in continuing that transparency.
And he wants to refute inaccurate information he said continues to get into a Rockford newspaper.
Robertson has been active as the township’s liaison to the Keen Age Center, which provides a variety of services for senior citizens under the Boone County Council on Aging.
Last year the township provided $25,000 for the purchase of a 2012 Dodge Caravan to take residents to medical appointments.
Turner is winding down his first four-year term on the board.
“I’m just a normal working man trying to do a good job for residents of the township,” he said.
Kathy Grover said she believes “you cannot complain unless you get involved.”
She said she attended school in Capron and graduated from North Boone High School. “As a property owner, I have the opportunity for my tax dollars to be used to support the primary and high school I attended,” she said.
“Integrity and pride of ownership make me proud to live in this township,” she added.
Serving takes work
Nelson said being a township trustee takes a lot more than meets the eye.
“It takes homework and research,” he said. “There are meetings to attend. You don’t just sit there.”
Now 71 and having been retired for the past 15 years, he said he believes he has the time and what it takes to make decisions that are best for the majority.
“There are two openings so I’m not trying to take anyone’s job,” he said, referring to trustees Debbie Carlson and Paul Zeien, who chose not to seek re-election.
Being a successful businessman, Nelson said he thought he was “able to manage the money that’s entrusted to me. I believe in having a budget and in having back-up money. I think I have the common sense and wisdom to make sound decisions.”
He added, “Running a township is the same as your house or a business.”
A lifelong resident of Boone County, he said he’s not running for the money trustees are paid each year. “I’m doing it to help people,” he said.
Ward said she’s running for the board in order “to help make some very necessary changes in their rules and decisions.”
Recent decisions, she said, intensified her interest in helping make changes. “For years, the elected officials have been overpaid, especially when they voted themselves full health benefits for a very part-time job.”
In addition, she said, “For years, they have overtaxed our residents and built up huge fund balances and neglected compassion for those truly in need. Some of them have also shown incredible disrespect for those who seek assistance or seek answers.”