BELVIDERE – All eight of Belvidere Township’s elected officials will be up for election in 2013.
There will be at least one contest after Les Reid announced his candidacy for supervisor outside the township office Sunday afternoon. He was joined by some of his supporters with the float they would ride in later during the Heritage Day parade.
He had a lengthy list of reasons why he decided to seek the four-year post, currently held by Patrick Murphy.
Of all those concerns, he said the one that pushed him into the Feb. 26, 2013 primary election was “when I saw the continual modification of rules to make it more difficult to speak at public meetings.”
Murphy, also a Republican, said Sunday he planned to seek re-election.
Among Reid’s other concerns are increasing the tax levy “far in excess of what they need.”
He said he would bring a number of improvements to the office such as listening to all taxpayers desiring to be heard; placing taxpayers first in decision making; reducing township taxes; and providing fiscal conservatism.
His background in public service includes eight years as a member of the Belvidere Community Unit School District 100 board of education, serving as vice president from 1996-2004.
He said he has a history of being a successful business owner, managing budgets and employees. That has given him the ability to build consensus as well as the ability “to do my homework and make informed decisions.”
One of his traits, he said, is having common sense, which caused him to ask this question: “If it’s so common, why isn’t there more of it.”
Reid said township residents were upset last year when the board tried to purchase the old Eagle’s Club building in downtown Belvidere. That proposed acquisition, he said, was overwhelmingly rejected by the electorate during a special town meeting.
“Lack of due diligence in researching all issues created a reveal of an overpriced property, with a large capital improvement cost making what seemed like a good deal a potential money pit,” he said. “Don’t buy useless property to become a landlord.”
While the board was willing to pay $150,000 for the building, he said it eventually sold to someone else for $60,000 earlier this year.
In addition, he said there is the perception that the township “has accumulated large reserve balances while continuing to spend well inside their annual levy.”
Instead of continuing to build surpluses, he said the township should “identify the use for the excess or reduce the levy until the fund balances are within an amount usually recommended by auditors.”
Auditor Gary Kuhl said recently the accepted practice is to have fund balances at 3 ½ times the amount of the annual budget.
Reid stressed that nothing can be more frustrating than not being allowed to speak at a public meeting, or not being placed on a meeting agenda when requested.
“While a board may have more information than the public on a given matter, the taxpayer is the person who entrusts the board with their taxes in return for the expectation of a well researched and efficient use of those dollars for the benefit of all,” he said.
As supervisor, he said he believes he can make a difference “by involving taxpayers in the process of an efficiently run township, of which they can be proud. I want them to feel good about the process and feel as though they are getting more than their tax dollars’ worth.”
While he owns an insurance agency, he said that if elected he would keep regular hours at the township office.
He has a website, www.les-reid.com, which will have updated information about his upcoming campaign for office.
In addition to Murphy, terms of the following township office holders will be expiring next year:
Board members Debbie Carlson, Bill Robertson, Bob Turner and Paul Zeien; Assessor Diann Helnore; Road Commissioner Rich Lee; and Clerk Judy Schabacker.