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Prenzler pens letter to governor on reopening Madison County

Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler wrote a letter to Gov. JB Prenzler asking him to consider a regional approach to reopening Illinois.

The letter was sent Saturday and a copy forwarded to the media.

Here is the text of the letter:

Dear Gov. Pritzker,

First, I want to thank you for your hard work and leadership in leading the Illinois response to the COVID-19 health crisis.

This past week you said that you would consider shifting from a “state” to a “regional” approach regarding re-opening the economy.

The purpose of this letter is to ask you to allow Madison County to proceed, as a county, to re-open businesses in a safe, phased way.

Our county health department has been complying with IDPH regulations and mandates, and that will not change.

Madison County is the largest county, by population, south of Will County. Our economy is closely tied to Missouri, which is allowing counties greater decision-making.

Our economic problems are increasing by the day. Just yesterday, our county employment office received a WARN layoff notice for 737 union and management jobs at the US Steel Granite City works. The decline of gasoline demand has impacted the refinery in Roxana, which is the largest in the Midwest. Closed small businesses don’t get headlines, but the job losses are just as real.

You have mentioned hospital capacity as a factor influencing your decision making. Hospitals in the St. Louis metro area acted decisively by cancelling elective surgeries. Now area hospitals have excess capacity, are losing millions, laying off thousands of employees, and are trying to convince the public that it’s safe to re-schedule elective surgery.

We are no different than counties across the country, in that our COVID cases and deaths have been largely concentrated in nursing homes.

The shutdown of “non-essential” businesses has led to unintended consequences. Small retailers labeled non-essential look out their front window to see the parking lot in front of Target full with cars and shoppers.  Restaurants without drive-through lanes watch their customers buying lunch at Jimmy Johns and McDonalds, while they remain closed. Florists are approaching Mother’s Day watching their customers go into Walmart and local supermarkets to buy flowers.

We believe that we, as a county, can responsibly help these small businesses to re-open.

Over the past several weeks, we have collected dozens of one-page plans from small businesses and churches, with their plans to re-open. A review of these plans showed that our small businesses want to do the right thing, and can be trusted to re-open their operations in a safe, phased way.

We are responsible citizens facing economic ruin. We can be trusted to re-open our economy in a responsible and informed way. But we need your help before it is too late. Your prompt response to our local economic problems is required and appreciated.


Kurt Prenzler, CPA

Madison County Chairman of the Board


618-514-2599 personal cell/text

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