• Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

Kim and McGuire face off in Lake County Treasurer’s campaign – Chicago Tribune

ByCindy J. Daddario

Oct 27, 2022

Four years after becoming Lake County Treasurer in a 2018 Blue Wave election, Mundelein Democrat Holly Kim faces a challenge from Green Oaks Republican Paula McGuire.

Kim touts nearly $10 million in investment income for 2020, up from $2 million four years ago, the introduction of online billing to reduce printing and postage costs, and the launch of a 24-hour support system among hers achievements.

She also said she raised the office’s profile from a time when “nobody really knew anything about the Treasurer’s office,” despite a multitude of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

McGuire, a longtime accountant at PwC, claims things aren’t going so well and that she can initiate changes to better serve Lake County residents.

“I think it’s a fine line to be a public relations firm and actually have some kind of fiduciary professionalism as well,” McGuire said. “I think the main focus would be to make sure the assets of the community are properly protected and then you would make sure that the individuals in the community actually have access to any information they are looking for and maybe you would report obviously about a quarterly what’s going on in this office.”

Kim took the job with a vision of taking on a larger role as an office that “just collects the money” from property tax payments and manages a portfolio worth a few hundred million dollars in county assets.

“It’s true, this office just collects the money,” Kim said. “But honestly to God, with the way we’ve invested and returned money, it’s all helped the county keep its levy steady three years in a row because we’ve been getting all these extra millions of dollars.” So I think there are ways we can help.”

Kim said the increase in investment income was due in part to investments in avenues her predecessor David Stolman “didn’t recognize” when they became available following updates to state laws governing how county investments might be managed, including corporate entry – and municipal bond markets.

She added that the increase will help the Treasurer’s Office “give back millions” so the Lake County Board can then “do things like road projects or flooding (mitigation).”

McGuire said she wondered if the winnings Kim shared might be too good to be true.

“If I were to ask (Kim) specifics about this and how it happened, I’m not sure she could answer that question,” McGuire said. “I found it a bit, how can I put it… impossible. If you invest according to state regulations and you look at the returns over those years and I don’t want to answer her question but I don’t think you can do that unless you have a large inflow of basis. I tried to push her in another situation and she couldn’t really answer the question.”

Green Oaks Republican Paula McGuire is challenging Democratic incumbent Holly Kim in the Nov. 8 election for Lake County Treasurer.

McGuire said if she won the post she would want to make sure investments are made in areas that are clearly permitted under state regulations, which she said: “It’s debatable whether that actually happened or not in the past here.” in the last four years.”

“Because I’m not a politician, when most people deal with the Treasurer’s office, they say they want to be more transparent and accurate,” McGuire said.

She said for the residents to “get the details” about the office, “you have to FOIA it”.

Kim said she’s made other improvements to benefit taxpayers, including reducing eCheck fees on free online and phone payments, and joining the Illinois BankOn Commission, which is part of a mission to get people to accept avoid payday loans.

“We work with the state; It’s really a movement where we steer people away from payday loans and instead build a relationship with a bank or credit union,” Kim said. “There are a lot of things that I’m involved with that this office has done to help people.”

McGuire said her “stronghold is numbers” and that she has the financial acumen to “act proactively rather than worrying about acting reactively.” A Lake County resident for more than 25 years, McGuire has experience in the insurance industry, banking and financial investment services.

She said the time was right to run for public office now that her children are grown and she doesn’t sit back and bitch about things she would like to change rather than taking action herself to make them happen.

“With the political climate like it’s probably gone in the last five years or so, I don’t think anybody can really sit there and complain about something unless they’re trying to do something about it,” McGuire said.

Kim explained that taking a step during the pandemic to allow residents to make their property tax payments in four installments shows their ability to adapt in difficult circumstances and thrive in the role.

She said 2022 was the first “normal collection year” of her tenure after figuring out how to deal with new software introduced by her predecessor, which she says had many “development issues.” Allowing four payments wasn’t practical, Kim said, “but it was the right thing to do.”

“Then what that did in the third year that I was here was that we were operating in two fiscal years, so it was difficult for our accounting department to catch up,” she said. “There were some things like the tax sale that we had to pay twice in one year.”

Kim said she’s also taken an active role in enforcing legislative changes that help county residents, including one that ensured more than 5,000 Lake County RV owners would receive late fines ranging to $100, or 50% their original tax bill would be capped, whichever is lower.

She said there had previously been instances in Lake County where clients could not meet their property taxes because of late penalties incurred, which she said was a political holdover from politicians who she said wanted to “keep poor people poor.”

McGuire pointed to a mistake made earlier this year when many residents mistakenly withdrew both installments of their property taxes from their bank accounts, rather than the first payment as planned, as evidence that an amendment is needed locally.

Kim explained in a June Facebook post that the double charges were due to “human error.”

McGuire, as well as some people commenting on Kim’s post, criticized the blunder that people’s bank accounts may have been overdrawn, incurring overdraft fees and even disrupting other scheduled payments.

“My question is how do you split this process from two payments to four payments, but you don’t test it enough to make sure there isn’t a double dip?” said McGuire. “I don’t understand how that could have happened.”