Mike is committed to working hard to wisely spend the money of Champaign County's taxpayers, starting with running for an office he intends to eliminate, saving the county over $100,000 a year.Donate
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The Recorder of Deeds is the land deeds official for all real estate within the county’s borders. There are other duties peppered in (such as recording military discharge papers, liens and releases, ordinances and annexations, and articles of incorporation), but largely the office processes and maintains all documents transferring land in order to establish legal ownership. If you’ve never heard of it, you’re not alone. Most county citizens do not interact with the office even when purchasing land or a home (often this interaction would be between the office and your title company). This is not to say that the work done within the office is unimportant. The staff overseen by the recorder expertly performs vital work, whether the recorder is on site or not.
The recorder is not statutorily required in the state of Illinois, and in over 75% of Illinois counties there is no county recorder, with the county clerk handling the recorder’s duties. Several counties have eliminated their recorders over the years, including McLean, Cook, Winnebago, McHenry, and Madison. Note that there is no partisan line here, as both “blue” and “red” counties have made this decision. As county budgets become more and more strained, counties have realized that spending ~$100,000 a year on what many view as an unnecessary office might warrant a look at where that money could be better spent.
In the large majority of Illinois counties, the county clerk oversees the recorder staff. This is seen by many as a natural fit because the county clerk already oversees divisions within her/his/their office (tax and election). Adding another division that is already largely staff-managed has worked in counties similar to ours. McLean County, population ~173,000, reports no loss in customer satisfaction since the record’s office was absorbed on 1/1/2014, according to their polling. (Champaign County has population ~208,000.)
They’re the backbone of the office already and this move would not impact their job security. They would simply be overseen by a different department head.
One thing that has been noted in several articles and studies of the issue was that the move could be (or was) viewed as a partisan attack on the current officeholder. To alleviate this potential pitfall (and the potential for a resentful officeholder leading the transition), electing someone who is in favor of the dissolution of the office seems wise. Plus there’s a certain amount of putting your money where your mouth is. I think there are better things that ~$100,000 a year could be spent on to actually make the lives of county residents better, and I’m willing to run for an office I’m hoping to dissolve to make it happen.
By ballot measure. The citizens of the county need to be given the choice to do so. Typically if you ask the citizens of an area if getting rid of an elected position is a good idea, they say yes; but it’s still important to ask for everyone to weigh in. To get a measure on the ballot, the simplest way is for the county board to vote to do so. If they are unwilling to do that, signatures can be collected to effect the same result.