EDWARDSVILLE —Treasurer Kurt Prenzler took his first step in the race in which voters will choose the next Madison County Board chairman.
Prenzler filed petitions Monday enabling him to challenge the current County Board chairman, who has held the seat for the past 13 years.
“The chairman has been in county government for 35 years and is a product of the political machine that has controlled this county for decades,” Prenzler said. “The machine works for its own benefit and not for the taxpayers. I want to return control back to the people.”
Until 2010, when he was elected treasurer, Prenzler had no prior experience working in government. The certified public accountant, a graduate of the Wharton School of Business and the University of Illinois, ran on a platform of ethics and reform.
“There was wrongdoing in the treasurer’s office and everyone looked the other way,” he said. “No one spoke out even when they knew something wasn’t right.”
Prenzler made many changes following the election, including cutting the treasurer’s budget by 30 percent, automating the tax sales and reinvesting money in accordance with Illinois law into local banks, tripling investments from $30 to $90 million.
The discovery of $500 million in purchases from a single Little Rock, Ark., bond salesman led Prenzler to bring a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration claim against the firm. Without admitting liability, the company settled the case for $340,000 earlier this year.
Part of Prenzler’s plan, if elected chairman, is to lower the burden on taxpayers by reducing the county’s property tax levy 10 percent without cutting services, upkeep or workers’ jobs.
He said his decision to run for chairman could be a “game changer” because he’s willing to do more than just play party politics.
“I feel the County Board should be a deliberative body,” he said. “They should not fear the County Board chairman. Everyone on the board should have a voice.”
The primary election is March 15. Monday was the last day for candidates to file petitions.