Is a Madison County power struggle looming?

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EDWARDSVILLE — A post-election power struggle between Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler and a number of board members could come to a head at a special board meeting. county administration now scheduled for Wednesday evening.

A dozen board members — including some who lost re-election bids to Prenzler-backed opponents — called the meeting for 5 p.m. Wednesday in the county council chambers and reportedly proposed a resolution that would give much of Prenzler’s powers to “an elect yet to be chosen,” according to a statement from Prenzler.


An earlier version of Prenzler’s statement, sent to the Telegraph, named the official but was later retracted, saying an edited version would follow. This version was obtained from another source.

Some hotly contested Republican primary races, which would have been unheard of in previous years, and long-running splits within the county’s Republican Party appear to be factored into the meeting call.

According to the agenda posted for Wednesday’s meeting, the county board will consider an “ordinance to amend the ‘Personnel Policies for Officials Appointed by the County Board and Department Heads’ and certain county ordinances in Madison”.

A copy of the proposed order was not available, 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 reunion request was related to electoral losses, most to candidates Prenzler had backed, largely because of his attempts to put PTELL — the Act to Limit the Extension of the property tax – as a referendum on the ballot.

Three incumbents, one Democrat and two Republicans, lost their reelection in Tuesday’s primary. Another county board member seeking a countywide office, and a former board member seeking to join the board, also lost in the primary. According to Prenzler, everyone currently serving on the board was among those who called for the special meeting.

Attempts to reach some of these members for comment over Independence Day weekend were unsuccessful.

PTELL limits the total dollar amount that certain property taxes can increase year over year based on the Consumer Price Index or 5%, whichever is lower. Larger increases can be made with voter approval.

Prenzler lobbied for adoption in Madison County; there were several failed attempts to place it on the ballot.

Although billed as a tax-saving measure, a number of county council members expressed concern that PTELL would, at least initially, create much higher property taxes for many residents. Some tax agencies that are not currently seeking the maximum tax rate may be inclined to increase these rates in anticipation of the entry into force of the PTELL.

Within the Madison County Republican Party, there was a sometimes significant split between Prenzler and his supporters with others.

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