Two Champaign County officials’ positions officially merge into one

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA)– Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons was sworn in as the county recorder of deeds Monday, officially merging the two positions for the first time.

For the most part, the recorder’s office remains unchanged.

“No one left the office,” Ammons shared. “Everyone who was there under the outgoing recorder Mike Ingram, everyone is staying.”

There was a minor slowdown early in the day. Long-time staff members said it was due to a software hiccup that was out of their control and resolved within a couple of hours.

The voters decided to eliminate the recorder position in 2021, saving the county some money by cutting a salaried official. This is something former recorder Mike Ingram was in favor of.

“So instead of having a recorder of deeds, elected position at $95,000 a year, and a clerk position at roughly the same…in January of 2023, whoever that clerk and recorder are, I think that salary is going to be $110,000,” Ammons explained.

“As opposed to basically paying $190,000 a year, taxpayers will pay $110,000.”

That’s accounting for an around $15,000 raise that will be included with the position next year to compensate for the additional work.

And, although there has been talk about savings for taxpayers, Champaign County Executive Darlene Kloeppel clarified, “Taxes will neither increase nor decrease based on one official’s salary.”

The biggest thing to get used to is a new website. Ammons showed us the new, merged county clerk and recorder site. Now, filing and searching deed records are on the same page as other clerk services.

“People who are used to going to the current recorder of deeds website, they’ll get a little re-direct opportunity to click on,” Ammons said.

The old website will be available for another few weeks to ease the transition, he added.

20-year recorder’s office veteran Tony Ceaser said, although it wasn’t a particularly busy day, they were able to record 40 documents with little interruption.

Ammons said the existing staff will pretty much handle the day-to-day. His role is policy-driven, meaning proposing changes to the office’s operations, sometimes taking those ideas to lawmakers.

One of those policy changes Ammons would like to see is with the county’s rental housing support program. He said it’s been around for about 20 years. As it stands, when those transactions happen in the recorder’s office, there’s a $10 fee. Ammons said the county keeps just one dollar of that and the rest goes to the state.

He said since the money is paid by Champaign County taxpayers, more of the profit should stay local.

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