Geoffrey Petzel: Candidate profile
Name: Geoffrey Petzel
City: Lake Zurich
Office sought: Lake County Board District 19
Occupation: Small business owner
Education: B.S. Environmental Management & B.S. Public Affairs from Indiana University
Civic involvement: (None listed)
Elected offices held: None
Questions & Answers
If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. If you are not, describe what you would bring to the county board.
I believe our taxes are too high and the County spends money too freely. I would like to see the county put a 2-year property tax freeze in place. During this period, we can work to reduce wasteful spending and be more responsible with tax revenue. As part of that freeze, county employees should receive raises. The purpose of the freeze is to reduce wasteful spending, not punish employees.
What is the single biggest need in your district?
Should the county government eliminate procurement cards, or p-cards, for county board members? Should county board members even have expense accounts? Should employees' p-cards be eliminated, too?
The county should absolutely eliminate procurement cards for county board members. County board members should not have expense accounts. When I decided to run for county board I was shocked to learn that we pay our board members nearly $50,000 a year for serving on the county and forest preserve board. In addition, members are pension eligible if they serve multiple terms. Our elected officials should be elected as a public service, not as a source of income. I would be in favor of reducing county board compensation.
I am not opposed to county employees having access to procurement cards, but there must be strong management of such cards.
Is the county doing enough to control expenses? What additional, specific steps do you recommend?
No. The county spends too much money. I am calling for a 2-year tax freeze so we can begin getting our budget under control. We need to begin a thoughtful look at all programs and expenses. We shouldn't spend money just to spend money. Personally, I see wasteful spending on transportation, public health and in other areas where I believe we can cut millions of dollars with no noticeable impact to residents.
Historically, county board meetings have been free of partisanship and political antics -- but party-line fighting has become more noticeable in recent years. How do you feel about that?
I understand how easy it is to view the other side as "the enemy". The Trump era has demonized those who share different views. Our differences are no longer about legitimate policy disputes- now our differences are based on ugly and ineffective nonsense. The state of our politics is depressing and frustrating.
I believe that most people enter public office because they want to make a positive impact. I hope that I can be a voice that works with everyone to benefit the residents of Lake County. We should be able to have disagreements on legitimate policy issues without being disagreeable.