The Tazewell County Board held a public hearing Wednesday in the Tazewell County Justice Center to discuss the referendum on the November 2018 election ballot to eliminate the office of county auditor as an elected position.

“Our purpose is to answer any questions and hear any testimony that people would like to offer,” said David Zimmerman, Tazewell County Board chairman. 

Robin Garlish of Pekin spoke out in opposition to the referendum, noting that people have been moving out of Tazewell County in recent years because of high taxes.

“We need to bring people back,” she said. “I’m not sure that this action is a good idea for that reason.”

Tazewell County Auditor Shelly Hranka came forward with a letter from Simon Petravick, Washington resident and professor of accounting at Bradley University, that opposed the referendum.

“If the citizens of Tazewell County want protection for the $60 million that flows through the county’s budget, they will mandate that the auditor continue (to) be accountable to voters rather than the County Board,” Petravick said in the letter. “Additionally, they will urge the County Board to adequately fund the auditor’s office so that there are no restrictions on the scope of the auditor’s work.”

Following the public hearing, the board held its regular monthly meeting and swore in Mindy Darcy of Morton and Toni Minton of Washington as new board members for Districts Two and Three, respectively. The board also unanimously approved an insurance premium structure for Fiscal Year 2019 and two replacement hires in the county clerk’s office.