Voters in the Republican primary for McHenry County treasurer can pick between two MBAs whose bulk of experience lies either in government or the private sector.
Glenda Miller, 58, of Harvard, is a Chemung Township trustee who's worked as chief deputy treasurer for 17 years, while Jeffrey Thorsen, 55, is a Crystal Lake councilman with 27 years of experience in banking.
Thorsen said he wants to focus on finding ways to save, while Miller -- who also has banking experience -- said her priority is to improve technology.
The county website needs detailed information about how much taxing districts get, and needs the capability to be updated by employees, Miller said.
Thorsen wants more transparency about how taxing bodies are faring, both on the website and on tax bills.
"How healthy they are, how fat they are, how skinny they are financially, how pensions are funded," he said. "Also I'd like to be able to see what was the last tax levy increase."
Miller pointed out information on tax bills is mandated by law and cautioned against increasing costs. Thorsen said it's a matter of allocating resources and saving through attrition.
This year's treasurer's general fund budget accounts for $1.9 million in revenues and about $614,000 in expenses, said Treasurer Bill LeFew, who is retiring. Additionally, it gets $288,000 in state tax sale fees and about $187,000 from federal passport fees.
The office employees 15 full-time equivalent employees.
Arming taxpayers with information is crucial, Miller said. "One of my big points is educating people and outreach programs."
For example, people should be given pamphlets during real estate closings explaining how to get tax bills in their names, she said.
Thorsen recommended working closely with the county recorder's office to keep up with property transfers.
"There is a customer service issue here," he said.
Miller said her office already has a good rapport with that and other county offices. Also, employees ensure proper customer service by working extended hours four days a week on a rotating schedule, she said.
Miller said she's willing to explore investing the county's money in bonds, while Thorsen said he agrees with LeFew's conservative approach of investing with banks only.
If elected, Thorsen said he'd leave his job as vice president of FirstMerit Bank and his councilman post, while Miller said she'd step down from her township post.
The treasurer's job pays $103,000 a year.