CHAMPAIGN — Incumbent Republican Champaign County Recorder of Deeds Barb Frasca says she wants to build upon the work her office has done over the past 16 years.
Meanwhile, her opponent, Democrat D'Anne Winston, says she would improve the office if she is elected.
Frasca and Winston offered their views at a debate Wednesday night at the Champaign City Building.
Frasca, who is seeking a fifth term as recorder of deeds, said she is proud of her office's implementation of a computer indexing system and work moving from paper documentation to the recording of documents electronically.
"Our office is the caretaker of your most important records," Frasca said.
Winston, a former clerk in the recorder's office who also ran for City of Champaign Township supervisor in 2009, said she opposes the $5.95 fee homeowners are charged to view and copy a mortgage or other document online.
"I would eliminate third-party billing to view documents online," Winston said.
The recorder's office files and maintains records relating to real estate in Champaign County — deeds, mortgages, property liens — as well as subdivision plats, land surveys, monument records and military discharges.
Frasca said she supports a bill that would force banks to file mortgages in the county where the property is located.
Winston said she would work, if elected, to inform the public about any changes in the housing market and to teach homeowners who face foreclosure about available resources that could help them.
"I want to help the public know what to do if they are in the process of losing their homes," Winston said.
Both candidates said they support greater diversity in the circuit clerk's office.
Frasca said she would like to be able to hire more staff, but the implementation of diversity has been hindered by the county's hiring freeze.
"Increased diversity is difficult due to the hiring freeze," Frasca said. "The last opening was due to a death, and it was not filled due to budget restraints."
"If I am elected, I will diversify the office by being your county recorder," Winston said.
Both candidates oppose merging the recorder's office with the county clerk's office.
Frasca said her office records up to 140 documents a day.
"They really need to be separate offices to be run the most efficiently," Frasca said.
"I believe a county of this size needs two separate offices," Winston said.
The debate was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Champaign County, the NAACP and The News-Gazette.