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Incumbent DuPage County treasurer faces election challenger Nov. 8

The race for county treasurer in DuPage County is between Don Potoczny and incumbent Gwen Henry.

Potoczny, 55, of Naperville, said the three most important economic issues voters face heading into the November elections and highlighted financial topics, including property taxes, the challenges of “first in family” and uncertainty about the county’s future.

“We all acknowledge that our property taxes are high compared to other states and other areas in our state and that means that every public official needs to be responsible for spending that money wisely and not wasting it,” he said. “We need to keep our staff small and have effective management and leadership so we provide efficient services and that is the answer.”

Potoczny said “first in family” issues are the challenges faced by those who are first to go to college in their family.

“I’m interested in financial literacy in partnership with the local schools and leveraging this office as a platform to do that,” he said.

The uncertainty of the future has been underscored in the past several years, Potoczny said, adding that “We need leaders who have broad education and experience so that we can face those challenges.”

If elected, Potoczny said his goals would include “modernization of the treasurer’s office, building trust and communicating with the public.”

“We take in about $3 billion in property taxes and the computer system that is used is 40 years old,” he said. “The county has invested more than $8 million in a new system but the current project is over budget and was supposed to be completed in July. This project has to be put back on track.”

Rebuilding trust in government institutions is something that is necessary, Potoczny said, “after being attacked over the past six years.”

“That’s a big reason why I’m running — to rebuild trust in our institutions and in democracy itself,” he said. “I will focus on professionalizing the staff and following the laws and policies.”

Communicating with the public and offering more outreach are also things that can help residents with exemptions and other matters, Potoczny said.

Democrat Gwen Henry is seeking her fourth term as DuPage County treasurer in the Nov. 8 election.  -Original Credit:

Henry, 82, of Wheaton, is seeking her fourth term as a treasurer. Economic issues in DuPage County include inflation, difficulty paying bills and higher taxes.

“In recent months, I’m really concerned about the impact that inflation is having on people in the county, particularly those that are already living paycheck to paycheck,” Henry said.

“People are trying to figure out how they buy their groceries, fill up their gas tanks and pay their mortgage and property taxes. As a treasurer, I can’t necessarily do all those things for them but I can give them some ideas and help and do some other work in that area.”

Paying bills, Henry said, “relates also to real estate taxes becoming a problem.”

“I’ve been noticing in the past few weeks where people haven’t paid their last installation before we go to the tax sale and we still have a lot of taxpayers who have not yet paid their final taxes,” she said. “They are having a hard time coming up with the money and choosing what they are going to pay.”

Higher taxes, Henry said, are a concern now “with what the levies the taxing bodies are going to be putting on their bills for this next year.”

“A lot of the increases can go to 5% increase in taxes where before it was limited to the CPI, which was 2.1%,” she said. “If the taxing bodies ask for 5%, it’s going to be a terrible experience for people.”

If reelected, Henry said her goals would include the implementation of a tax software program that has already been fully funded “with the training and implementation of that.”

There have been job opening due to retirements in her office that Henry said she would like to fill, which “would not affect things budget-wise.”

“We’re looking at how people would fit into the team and we’re looking for some diversity and people with different skills like other languages,” she said.

Henry also wants to continue to manage the $3.2 billion in taxes and “get everything done and paid on time.”

Davis Sharos is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.

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