Jill Ferko, Kendall County Treasurer 2022 Primary Election Questionnaire

Election 2024
Kendall County Treasurer candidate Jill Ferko

Full Name: Jill Ferko

What office are you seeking? Kendall County Treasurer

What offices, if any, have you previously held? Kendall County Treasurer

City: Yorkville

Occupation: Kendall County Treasurer

Education: 1992 BA from Aurora University with a major in Finance and minor in Accounting

2002 Masters in Business Administration from Aurora University

What would be your top three priorities over the next four years?

1) My number one priority is to always put the people of Kendall County first. The Treasurer’s role is unique. While it is an elected position, the responsibilities of the office permit me to act more as a civil servant than politician. While I do not set policy, I do have a seat at the table, and feel it is my duty to act on behalf of all of us living and paying taxes in the county.

2) Complete the implementation of the new integrated financial Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. For the past three years my office has been working on this conversion which involves Human Capital Management and Financial Management. Throughout the county, there are eighteen departments/offices and over four hundred employees. Due to inherent inequalities, each division registers personnel payroll and workforce management differently. Going forward they will be streamlined under one system.

3) Implement best practices for tracking and reporting state and federal grants throughout all the County offices to comply with the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA). This recent legislation increases accountability and transparency in the use of grant funds. For perspective, in 2020, the county received over 6.5 million dollars in federal grant money. In 2021, it received twelve million from the American Rescue Act Plan and will receive another twelve million in 2022.

Taxes are a top concern raised by voters locally. What do you do within your position to address residents’ tax burden?

The Treasurer’s office does not come with any county-wide authority in terms of taxing or spending decisions, but it does provide a platform for me to promote good stewardship of taxpayer money and responsible budget decisions by the board. Within my office, I will continue to keep the Treasurer’s budget increases to a minimum. In the past, my upticks remained within the annual guidelines set by the County Board and were mainly tied to employee wages and the cost of postage.

What this office can do is to provide the highest level of service to the people of Kendall County in a professional, courteous and efficient manner as we collect taxes and revenues critical to the operation of the County government and the taxing districts, including school districts, fire districts, park districts, libraries and other municipalities.

I think one of the most important functions of my role as Treasurer is collaborating with residents to better understand their property tax bill and how the property tax cycle works. We strive to make sure everyone who either comes into the office or calls us on the phone is getting all the applicable exemptions, and we give direction on where to find answers regarding a property’s assessed value. We also encourage our residents to attend Board meetings to learn what their taxing districts are doing and to get a better understanding of tax dollar expenditures.

I have improved accessibility for all taxpayers by offering on-line and ACH payments and most recently, a 24/7 drop box which lets residents make payments at their convenience.

If you could redo or reverse any one decision made by the county treasurer in the last four years, what would it be and why?

There is a quote, “It’s only with hindsight we can see things for what they are,” so we all have moments when we look back and wish we had done things differently, but a complete redo or reverse, no. Tweaks, sure. I do work up front. It is my nature to take a thoughtful approach to decision-making and this is more so when making decisions on behalf of the citizens I serve. I consider the evidence base, my personal experiences, what I can learn from others’ experience and alternative options. I hope this makes me a more effective leader and adaptive manager.

What do you bring to the table that your opponents do not?

Most importantly, I understand the role. I am directly involved in the day-to-day activities of the Treasurer’s office and have firsthand experience in all of our procedures. This approach keeps me well versed in the inner-workings of the office, as well as the county and, for the last twenty years, helped me make sure the county met all guidelines set forth by the Illinois State Statues and the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB). My banking experience and education in finance support my primary duties which include financial reporting, record-keeping and managing incoming and outgoing monies. I am also responsible for identifying and managing risk when investing the County’s considerable 70 to 80 million dollars in operating funds. During this year’s tax cycle, 353 million dollars in property taxes will flow through this office. The tax cycle includes, collecting taxes and then distributing to the taxing districts.