They may not immediately recognize his name but Lake County property owners are reminded each year when the tax bill comes that Robert Skidmore is the county treasurer.
However, that won't be the case after his fourth term comes to an end, as Skidmore has decided not to seek re-election in November 2014. The general state of politics contributed to the decision, according to Skidmore, a Republican from Mundelein, who was elected treasurer in 1998.
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"I've been thinking about it for awhile. I've been here working for the county for 30 years," said Skidmore, 66.
"I love my job and I love working with people but to be honest, the politics have gotten to me and I don't want to do it again."
Skidmore didn't cite specific instances but noted that "too many outside groups" have been getting involved in elections. Once in office, politics becomes part of the job, he added.
"The politics part of it burned me out. I just had enough of it."
Skidmore began his government career as a cashier in the treasurer's office in 1984. He defeated opponents in 1998 and 2002 but was unopposed in 2006 and 2010. He said he made the announcement now to allow potential candidates to prepare for a potential primary election next March.
"Believe me, nobody likes paying property taxes," he said. "The last several years with the economy the way it was, it's been difficult for people trying to pay their taxes," he said.
Skidmore said tried to provide "compassionate assistance," and making sure people were aware partial payments were accepted, although interest was due on the outstanding balance.
Advancements in technology have made it easier and more efficient for taxpayers to get information and make payments while reducing the time it takes the office to distribute the funds to taxing bodies, he added.
The most frequent question in recent years has been why tax bills continue to increase when property is worth less. The reason is that taxing bodies in their annual levies continue to ask for the maximum allowed but by the time the tax bill arrives, it's too late to change. He has advised taxpayers to question the boards of the various taxing bodies at tax levy time.
"As the values of homes have dropped, the taxes continue to go up. It's difficult to explain to the people but it's a trend," he said.