By STEVE BAUER
Government operations in Champaign County reflect a core, twin-cities “micro-urban” environment, with all the amenities of a major university, shopping and entertainment, but a surrounding rural environment.
The University of Illinois provides an economic and cultural center, straddled by Champaign and Urbana. Rural areas generally support agriculture and a place to live outside the cities. North of the twin cities is Rantoul, the site of a former Air Force base and now a museum, along with some industrial enterprises. To the west is Mahomet, with two forest preserve facilities and the district’s headquarters. To the east are St. Joseph and Ogden. To the south are Tolono and Philo and to the southeast Homer.
County government is also a mix of urban and rural, liberal and conservative politics, reflecting the university and agricultural communities.
The Champaign County board has nine districts, each with three elected board members, a total of 27 representatives. For about a year, the board has been discussing possible restructuring, including possible reduction in the size of the board.
Currently, the Democrats hold a 15-12 majority on the county board and the Republicans hold six of eight elected countywide offices, not including six judges, who are initially elected then go to the polls every six years for retention by the voters.
Other elected officials in the county government include a county clerk who oversees elections and county documents; a circuit clerk who oversees court records; a treasurer who oversees county funds; an auditor who reviews financial transactions, a recorder of deeds who oversees filing of vital records, a coroner who investigates whether deaths are accidental, homicide or suicide; a state’s attorney who oversees prosecution of crimes; and a sheriff who oversees county patrols and criminal investigations in rural areas.
In the November general election, all the county offices are up for re-election along with 15 of the county board seats.
Officials appointed by the county board include the county administrator, the supervisor of assessments, county engineer, a nursing home administrator, emergency management director and planning and zoning director. There are also five associate judges appointed. The chief judge of the county appoints the public defender. The jail supervisor is appointed by the sheriff.
County Board Chairman C. Pius Weibel, D-Champaign, said the county has a general fund budget of $31.7 million for 2010 with a projected deficit of $1.6 million. The county employs 832 people with 427 paid out of the general fund.
Champaign County Board
The board members:
District 1, Mahomet area — Chris Doenitz, R, 637-8453 (office); John Jay, R, 586-3380 (office); and Lawrence Sapp, R, 202-6405.
District 2, Rantoul area — Ron Bensyl, R, 583-3385; and Stan James, R, 893-4771; Diane Michaels, R, 892-4289.
District 3, Champaign — Brad Jones, R, 359-2541 and Alan Nudo, R, 355-9225; Sadorus — Jonathan Schroeder; 598-2327.
District 4, rural Urbana area — Steve Moser; R, 469-7565 and Steve O´Connor, R, 688-2210; rural St. Joseph — Greg Knott, R, 469-0223.
District 5, Champaign — Carol Ammons, D, 344-1811; Lloyd Carter Jr., D, 344-3305; and Lorraine Cowart, D, 355-9042.
District 6, Champaign — Matthew Gladney, D, 355-1277; Michael Richards, D, 390-1740; and Giraldo Rosales, D, 766-6109;
District 7, Champaign — Janet Anderson, D, 356-2433; C. Pius Weibel, D, 398-1677 or 384-3772 (county board office); and Alan Kurtz, D, 356-0011.
District 8, Urbana — Tom Betz, D, 333-9053 (office); Ralph Langenheim, D, 344-5285; and Samuel Smucker, D, 344-1863;
District 9, Urbana — Steve Beckett, D, 328-0353 or 333-3608 (office); Brendan McGinty, D, 328-1994; and Barbara Wysocki, D, 367-5014.
Auditor — Tony Fabri, Champaign, Democrat, 384-3763.
Circuit clerk — Linda Frank, Champaign, Republican, 384-3725.
County clerk — Mark Shelden, Urbana, Republican, 384-3720.
Coroner — Duane Northrup, Mahomet, Republican, 384-3888.
Recorder of deeds — Barbara Frasca, Champaign, Republican, 384-3774.
Sheriff — Dan Walsh, Champaign, Republican, 384-3818.
State´s attorney — Julia Rietz, Champaign, Democrat, 384-3733.
Treasurer — Dan Welch, Champaign, Republican, 384-3743.
Administrator — Debra Busey. 384-3776.
Animal control director — Stephanie Joos, 384-3798.
Engineer — Jeff Blue, 384-3800.
Emergency Management Agency director — Bill Keller, 384-3826.
Nursing home administrator — Andrew Buffenbarger, 384-3784.
Planning/zoning director — John Hall, 384-3708.
Public defender — Randall Rosenbaum, 384-3714.
Supervisor of assessments — Stan Jenkins, 384-3760.