The Edwardsville business community recently lost two of its leaders — Allen Cassens and Joseph E. “Joe” Meyer.

Both were men of integrity and honesty. Not only were they successful in business, but they were involved in local clubs and organizations.

Cassens, 77, died June 13. He was involved in the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon area’s only major automobile dealership as well as Cassens Transport and Cassens Insurance.

He served on several boards including the SIUE Foundation, McKendree University Board of Trustees and The Bank of Edwardsville. He was a pillar in the community.

I admired both men, but as county treasurer, I personally worked with Joe Meyer, who died June 12, at age 62.

Joe was a “powerhouse” in Illinois when it came to delinquent real estate taxes.

It’s not an overstatement to say that Joe was not only admired by Illinois county treasurers, but indeed, he was loved.

Joe got his start 30 years ago dealing with the thorny problems of what to do with properties where taxes remained chronically unpaid. Over the course of his career, Joe influenced Illinois law. County treasurers considered him the expert on the subject.

His company serves as the delinquent tax agent for 95 of Illinois’ 102 counties. How could one company serve so many counties? Simply, Joe was the best in the business.

When county treasurers had complicated questions, they called Joe. When Illinois county treasurers got the news that Joe died, many broke down and wept. Men of his knowledge, energy and organizational ability don’t come around every day.

About 10 years ago, Joe thought he could improve the way tax sales were run. Joe developed software to “automate” tax sales, as an improvement to the traditional “open outcry” process. Today, more than 55 Illinois counties use his system. It has resulted in much lower penalty interest rates, which has saved struggling taxpayers millions of dollars.

Joe Meyer left Illinois a better place. His innovations improved the way counties deal with delinquent taxes.

Madison County Treasurer

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