Government

Political newcomer says communication is key to bringing Algonquin Township Board together

New Algonquin Township Trustee Robert Becker smiles as he talks with other trustees after being sworn in during a board meeting Wednesday evening at the township's office in Crystal Lake.
New Algonquin Township Trustee Robert Becker smiles as he talks with other trustees after being sworn in during a board meeting Wednesday evening at the township's office in Crystal Lake.

Lake in the Hills resident Robert Becker was chosen and sworn in as the new Algonquin Township trustee at the board's meeting Wednesday night.

Becker was chosen over John Leonardi of Fox River Grove. He replaces former Trustee Rachael Lawrence.

In a letter to the board last month, Lawrence cited private and ongoing health concerns as the reason for her resignation.

Becker was picked after trustees interviewed both candidates in executive session.

Trustee Dave Chapman said he was struck by the quality of both the candidates who were interviewed.

They gave great answers to the questions, he said, and showed a strong commitment to the township. Each would have brought something different to the board, Chapman said.

He said Becker and Leonardi also were open to having discussions to try to bring harmony back to the board.

"It was impressive," Chapman said.

Becker said his interest in becoming a trustee came as his children are moving out of the house. Because he's "done with the baseball field" now, Becker wants to work with the community and keep programs going that benefit all ages.

That includes programs that are attentive to seniors, such as the busing program. Becker also wants to start programs to make sure youth are being taken care of, as well.

As trustee, one of Becker's goals is to start a job program for those that might not go on to college, so they can more easily find a job or receive training for a vocational job.

He anticipates fitting in easily on the board, saying when there's a group of people who want to work together, it happens on its own.

"It keeps the door open instead of doors being shut," he said. "When there's more communication, things happen for the best, and people are going to see that, I think, within the community."

Becker plans on facilitating this communication by always being willing to make the first step and reaching out to other board members and those who work in the township.

"Communication is key," he added. "Always. Keep up the communication, keep that going, and you'd be surprised how many answers you get and how much progress you can make."

Becker is the manager for Elgin Recyling's steelyard in Gilberts. This is his first political position.

Like the other trustees, Becker will receive a $205.50 a month for his work on the board.

Also at the meeting, trustees approved the township's property tax levy extension of $1,558,000 for tax year 2019.

The levy, which will go to the township’s town fund and general assistance fund, is identical to last year’s, with no increase or decrease.

Trustees also voted to approve a the $3,596,162 road district levy.

This year’s levy for the road district is less than last year’s, when township officials approved a $3.66 million tax levy.

It will be used for the township’s road and bridge fund, Social Security fund, Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, insurance fund, audit fund and equipment and building fund.

Both levies were approved unanimously by the trustees, including Becker.

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