According to the posted agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, the county board will consider an “ordinance to amend the ‘personnel policies for county board appointed officials and department heads’ and certain Madison County ordinances.”
A copy of the proposed ordinance was unavailable, but Prenzler, in a written statement, said the proposal would transfer many of his powers to the unnamed official.
In his statement, Prenzler questioned the timing of the move. He also questioned whether the meeting request was tied to election losses, most to candidates Prenzler had supported, in large part because of his attempts to put PTELL — the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law — as a referendum on the ballot. Three incumbents, one Democrat and two Republicans, lost reelection bids in Tuesday’s primary. Another county board member seeking a countywide office, and a former board member seeking to rejoin the board, also lost in the primary. According to Prenzler all those now on the board were among those calling for the special meeting.
Attempts to reach some of those members for comment over the Independence Day Weekend were unsuccessful.
PTELL limits the total dollar amount certain property taxes may increase from year to year based on the Consumer Price Index or 5 percent, whichever is lower. Larger increases can be made with voter approval.
Prenzler has pushed for its adoption in Madison County; there have been several failed attempts to place it on the ballot.
While touted as a tax-saving measure, a number of county board members have expressed concerns PTELL would, at least initially, create much higher property taxes for many residents. Some taxing bodies not currently seeking the maximum tax rate might be inclined to increase those rates in anticipation of PTELL taking effect.
Within the Madison County Republican Party, there has been a sometimes-significant split between Prenzler and his supporters with others.
Trained as a photojournalist, Scott Cousins has 40 years of experience covering all aspects of news, primarily in the Metro East. His primary beats for The Telegraph in Alton include Madison County government and criminal filings, and he remains committed to the idea that a newspaper’s first responsibility is to inform the public about what government is doing.