Champaign County Board defers action on recorder referendum

Champaign County Board defers action on recorder referendum

URBANA — With one board member calling the proposal "ridiculous" and "political," the Champaign County Board voted Tuesday night to defer a resolution that would authorize a referendum asking voters if they want to eliminate the county recorder's office, rolling its duties into the clerk's office.

"This is borderline ridiculous," said Republican board member Jon Rector at the board's committee-of-the-whole meeting Tuesday night.

Rector said Republicans and Democrats on the board have been working together on issues recently, but he conveyed disappointment with the resolution.

"I think this is totally political," Rector said.

He referenced some numbers that Recorder Mark Shelden provided at the beginning of the meeting showing that his office, through recorder fees, contributes more than $600,000 to the county's general fund.

In response to Rector's comments, Democratic board member Steve Summers said, "You can call it what you want," but there's value in asking the voters what they want.

The county board has twice rejected similar proposals — once in 2014, when it died without a vote of board members, and once in 2015, with a 15-3 vote.

Some county board members from — both Democrats and Republicans — expressed surprise Tuesday night to see the resolution on the agenda.

Shana Jo Crews requested that the resolution be placed on the agenda, according to county officials, but she was not at the meeting.

Board member Kyle Patterson said there are unanswered questions regarding the proposal, and he would like more information and suggested deferring.

"There's a little more clarity we need on this," he said.

Republican board member Jack Anderson said he understands the argument for putting the question to the voters, calling it "a powerful argument," but added that he sees no need to eliminate an office that has no complaints against it from daily users of its services. He and Rector both supported quashing the proposal altogether rather than deferring it to next month's county board meeting.

But with a motion on the floor to delay, the committee of the whole voted 12-8 to defer the resolution until the July county board meeting.

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