For 51 consecutive and dedicated years, Joe Legler served Benton Township as the treasurer. Legler was forced to retire at the age of 83 due to health complications from lung cancer.
Legler said at the time he joined, his father Martin Legler was the Town clerk. The pair served 16 years together on the township board from 1960 through 1976.
For Legler, the time spent serving the residents of Benton Township was enjoyed. "I enjoyed the people," Legler said, who also spent his days and nights farming on his property three miles from Hazel Green on County W. "When I first began as treasurer, people would come in to find out how much they owed for property taxes and then they would come back and pay them at a later time." Legler was responsible for collecting the first half of the property taxes for the residents of Benton Township along with any bookwork associated with it. "Most would pay the entire bill in full when they came in the first time," Legler said.
One thing Legler said is that he doesn't believe inflation kept up with the salary of his position. Legler first started out making $300 a year and upon his retirement, he believes he was earning closer to $1,900 each year. "It's just the evolution of things over the years," Legler said.
Over the years, computers started to ease the paper trail in sending out hand-written property tax notices. "I never used them, Legler said about the computers. "They would print off the notices and I would put them into envelopes and send them out."
Legler praised the work of the township board. "We sure have had a great board," Legler said. "We hardly ever had any squabbles and everyone used their heads when dealing with things."
Legler, who turned 84 on Sunday still resides with his wife, Mary. They raised 2 children on the farm, Allan and Rosemary. Legler is taking radiation treatments for his cancer and continues to reflect on his time spent serving the community.