(KMOV) – Controversy in Madison County leaves taxpayer dollars caught in the middle. Treasurer Kurt Prenzler says the county is doing so well financially the taxpayers should get big chunk of the budget back. Others argue that the county’s investments are being mismanaged.
Madison County has about $30-million more than it did four years ago. The treasurer said Madison County does not need that money for the budget and the taxpayers should get it.
“I say if we have too much money, that money should really be returned to the taxpayer,” said Prenzler.
Board Chair Alan Dunstan, who wrote the budget, said doling out the money to the public is simply not feasible and that the budget is made up of federal, state and local dollars that the county could not give away, or refund. Of that $30-million, about $22-million is unrestricted, and is needed for a jail project, said Dunstan.
“That jail project alone is going to cost more than that, we have about another 8 or 9 million in capital improvements so we don’t have an overabundance of money,” Dunstan said.
Dunstan is more concerned about how the treasurer is investing the county’s funds, siting that four years ago, the county was baking $4-million in interest and it is now down to less than $280,000 in interest.
“This is costing the taxpayer’s money when we’re losing interest like we’re losing today. I mean I am just shocked,” he said.
The county board chair is now calling for an independent firm to come in and watch over Prenzler’s investing, but the treasurer said he is merely playing by the rules laid out by the state of Illinois, investing safely.
Dunstan said he would like to work with Prenzler on improving the county’s investment returns.