Fate of McHenry County recorder’s office could be left up to voters

dailyheraldlogo

updated: 6/7/2017 3:50 PM

The decision on whether to merge the McHenry County recorder’s office with the clerk’s office could be left up to voters.

An ad hoc committee is considering a resolution that would place a binding referendum question on the ballot next March asking if the clerk’s office should assume the responsibilities of the recorder’s office, which would then be eliminated.

If voters approve the referendum, the county would be tasked with consolidating the two offices by Dec. 1, 2020, according to the proposed resolution.

The move would align with Recorder Joe Tirio’s campaign promise to work toward abolishing the position. Tirio, a Woodstock Republican, was elected to his first four-year term last fall.

County Board Chairman Jack Franks, who has proposed plans to cut next year’s property tax levy by 10 percent, said combining the recorder’s and clerk’s offices would likely reduce long-term government spending and save taxpayers money.

“McHenry County residents want elected leaders to focus on lowering their tax burden and making the economy grow,” he said.

The recorder’s office is responsible for maintaining and retrieving real estate records, documents and plat maps — duties which would be absorbed by the clerk’s office if consolidation plans move forward.

Franks and the ad hoc committee on government consolidation are expected to discuss the proposed referendum Friday with Tirio and County Clerk Mary McClellan. The meeting is at 9 a.m. in the county’s administration building, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock.

The ad hoc committee consists of board members Robert Nowak of Algonquin, Kay Bates of McHenry, Mary McCann and John Jung Jr. of Woodstock, and Donna Kurtz, Joe Gottemoller and Don Kopsell of Crystal Lake.

If passed at the committee level, the resolution will move to the full county board for consideration.