By Julie Gerke
Beth Hopkins will have been Jacksonville city treasurer for 15 months when her name appears on the local April 4 election ballot.
Hopkins was appointed to the position in December 2021 following the death of long-time treasurer Ron Smiljanich. She is the only person who has filed for the nonpartisan, two-year term. A full four-year term will be on the 2025 ballot.
Hopkins was appointed by City of Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard, who had talked previously to Smiljanich about possible replacements. Both favored Hopkins, who coordinated the emergency management services program for the city. Starting as a part-time police dispatcher while still in college, Hopkins had worked for the city just shy of 30 years.
Her position meant she already had a working relationship with many city departments and was used to working with finances and grants.
This first year as treasurer, she said, has been a learning experience.
The city treasurer’s office works closely with the city clerk’s office, mainly taking care of the banking and investment end of the city’s money. Hopkins describes the job as overseeing fiduciary responsibility for the city: all cash balancing, investments, grant administration, revolving loan funds, amortization schedules, and all receipts and deposits. The treasurer also is a trustee for the police and fire pension boards.
The clerk’s and treasurer’s offices work closely together, Hopkins said, providing, “a good check and balance system.”
Becoming treasurer came with a “learning curve,” she said, noting help from administrative assistant Melissa Hall. The pair continue to move records from paper to computer, and Hopkins said a future project will be sorting decades’ worth of records kept in the city hall basement.
Hopkins has joined the Illinois Municipal Treasurers Association and finds help with a source list and weekly newsletter. Future goals for the office include continuing to streamline processes to keep city finances “in a good position.”
When: Tuesday, April 4; polls open 6 a.m.-7 p.m.
Early voting: Feb. 23-April 3, Morgan County Clerk’s Office, 300 W. State St., Jacksonville
Early voting hours: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m.-noon March 4 and April 1
Questions? Call 217-243-8581.