Robert Smith: 2021 candidate for Algonquin village trustee
Four candidates running for three, 4-year terms.
Occupation: Midwest Regional Manager International Freight Forwarder, Logfret Inc.
Civic involvement: Algonquin Lions; Village Trustee for 24 years from 1993 to 2017
Q. How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state and federal authorities?
A. This has been a challenging year for the residents, business and the Village if elected I will work to support our business and help them get back to normal as soon as possible. I will work to see that our residents get updated details from the McHenry and Kane County Health Departments to help keep them safe and healthy.
Q. Did your town continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A. For the most part they did as best as possible working to meet the needs of the residents and keep service going. I did have an issue when the rezoning of Terrace Hill came up. This was a major change and should have been held off until the residents had the opportunity to come to the Village in person. I along with other asked for this to be tabled but the Village Board went forward doing this by zoom meeting. As a Trustee I always fought to make sure that the residents always had the opportunity speak out on the issues.
Q. In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?
A. The Village is following the State and County guidelines
Q. What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A. The Village Manager and Staff our working on the 2021-2022 budget for the new fiscal year as of now the Village is in a sound position with no major cuts needed. There are no new positions being added only replacing people that have left.
Q. What do you see as the most important infrastructure project you must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what infrastructure project can be put on the back burner?
A. The Village needs to continue doing improvements to our local roads. The village has had an ongoing schedule for road repairs as part of the longtime planning. Funding has been budgeted for over the years. The Downtown redevelopment need to be continued this is also budgeted and the funding is there to keep going forward. the Downtown is the heart of our Village. I was a part of the planning of the Downtown project seeing this to completion should stay as a top of the list for the Village.
Q. Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
A. We need to let the business do what they can to stay open and continue to work. We have to support them. People can make their own choice if they want to go out to a restaurant or go shopping. People need to be safe and follow the requirements but life has to go on.
Q. Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board/council has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A. When I was on the Village Board we had approved a medical marijuana location in the Village. I believed that it would be good for people in the area that needed this product. I was not on the Board when the State pasted the Law allowing recreational marijuana sales I believe that the Village should have permitted the sale of recreational marijuana this is now a legal product and this would have been an opportunity for the village to have increased it's sales tax revenue. It is important to try and take every opportunity to increase sales tax revenue as a way to keep our property tax down.
Q. What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A. I had the privilege of serving as an Algonquin Village Trustee for 24 years from 1993 to 2017 in that time I have brought many ideas to the board that have help make Algonquin a better place to live. Working to get our Village Recreation Department started is one of the things I am proud of. I will work to enhance the Recreation Department adding more programs for residents of all ages including more programs for Teens and for our Senior Residents. It is not a new idea but I will work to try and get a Dog Park in the Village. I will also work on bringing in more commercial development to the all of the Village Eastside, Westside and Downtown working with the property owners to help find a good for our village.