Merging county clerk, recorder offices goes to March ballot

ROCKFORD — Voters in Winnebago County will get the choice on a referendum to combine the offices of the county clerk and recorder.

The county board last week voted 14-4 to put the question on the March 20, 2018 ballot. Chairman Frank Haney hopes that combining the two offices will see cost savings for the county, which has faced budget cuts across a number of departments.

“We can’t keep trying to do the same things we always have and just hope that it somehow fixes itself,” he told The Times in an interview last week.

The two offices operate in divergent parts of government: the clerk maintains election databases while the recorder is responsible for property records. Nearly 80 percent of Illinois counties have combined the positions under a single office.

And sources have told The Times that the county and city are exploring a merger of the two bodies’ election commissions. Currently, the City of Rockford and Winnebago County maintain their own voter rolls. Officials in both have indicated that eliminating redundancies in records by combining their respective offices could produce cost savings for the city and county.

The city and county are also exploring a merger of their 911 centers.

Current county clerk Margie Mullins announced Monday that she will step down from her post in January. R.

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