The organization of Champaign County government, only one of many levels of government in Illinois, can be confusing to its constituents. 

Like a building with many sprawling additions, it can appear to be an inefficient mess to a resident trying to navigate its halls. To help simplify, elected and appointed county officials are responsible for six main areas:

— Offices related to the county tax cycle: assessor, clerk, treasurer, board of review.

— Offices related to public safety: coroner, courts (including juvenile services, public defender and probation), sheriff (including emergency management and corrections), state’s attorney.

— Offices related to the county’s historical record-keeping: clerk, circuit clerk, recorder of deeds.

— Offices related to the county’s administration: auditor, executive (including county board support, information technology and physical plant), treasurer.

— Offices related to county-owned roadways: highway.

— Ubiquitous other activities, mostly accomplished through establishment of separate boards and partnerships.

The Champaign County Board, currently with two representatives from each of 11 districts, is responsible for setting budgets and establishing ordinances and resolutions through its committees: Environment and Land Use, Highway, Facilities, Policy and Appointments, Social Services and Justice, and other ad hoc committees called for specific purposes. 

If you ever want to give input to the board, there is a public participation time allotted at all meetings. Times and agendas are posted on the county’s website at co.champaign.il.us.

Yes, people who live in cities are also county residents with access to all county services, but some services are provided separately depending on whether you reside within city limits. For example, your location determines which jurisdiction provides police or sheriff response or whether city or county zoning ordinances apply to your property.

To further complicate things, some county activities are performed through intergovernmental agreements (like METCAD-211 and the GIS Consortium), through pass-through funding to other boards (like the Regional Office of Education, Mental Health Board and Regional Planning Commission), and through sub-contracts (like large construction or computer projects).

Lately, we’ve been working on improving wayfinding at the Brookens Administration Center by relocating some hallway pictures and signs, and we’re recruiting more volunteers to cover hours at the front information desk. Be sure to notice the next time you’re in the building to do business.

Darlene Kloeppel is Champaign County’s first county executive. Have a topic you’d like her to tackle? Email her at dk@co.champaign.il.us.