Deputy clerk to head county office

By SAMANTHA PIDDE

The Carroll County Board last week unanimously approved the appointment of Amy Buss of Mount Carroll to succeed County Clerk & Recorder Brian Woessner. The appointment is effective Dec. 1.

Woessner, 67, of Mount Carroll, submitted his resignation in September after serving as Carroll County Clerk & Recorder for the past 14 years. The Republican cited retirement as his reason for stepping down. His last day in office is Nov. 30, allowing him to "put to bed" the Nov. 3 election before he leaves office.

Woessner has two years remaining on his current four-year term. Woessner explained earlier that Carroll County Board Chairman Kevin Reibel can legally fill the vacancy via an appointment rather than requiring a special election.

Chairman Reibel announced the appointment of Buss to the position at the Thursday, Nov. 5, County Board meeting, saying, "It's always good to appoint within.”

Buss, 51, has been a deputy clerk in the office for the past 26 years, having been hired by former county clerk Judy Gray.

In a follow-up telephone interview with the Mirror-Democrat/Times-Journal, Buss said she is excited to have the opportunity to serve the county in the position, noting that working in the office is "just one of the best jobs."

"It's a good place to work, I work with good people," said Buss.

After working in the office for 26 years and working closely with Woessner, Deputy Clerk Buss said she feels qualified on every aspect of the position. She expects no trouble in transitioning into the position, adding that everything should remain "pretty status quo."

County Clerk Woessner said he is pleased Buss will be completing the last two years of his term.

“I wouldn’t have retired mid-term without being confident that Amy was going to be appointed,” Woessner told the Mirror-Democrat/Times-Journal. “The change of command will be seamless. With 26 years of experience, she is highly accomplished in tax extension, tax redemption and all facets of elections. She is a team player and has a good relationship with the County Board. Amy will serve the county well.

Buss told County Board members that she appreciated their confidence in her and is looking forward to a good working relationship with them.

Board member Ron Preston also thanked Buss for the work she had done on the Nov. 3 election, saying he had received many positive comments about Buss from election judges.

The County Clerk's office has five major functions: (1) Tax extender for computing tax rates and the redemption of delinquent taxes; (2) chief election officer for the county; (3) keeper of the county records; (4) clerk of the County Board; (5) records all property transactions.

By law, the County Clerk also files the commissions for notaries public, files assumed names for businesses, issues marriage licenses and files campaign disclosure statements and statement of economic interest.

The County Clerk administers elections of national, state and county officials within Carroll County. There are currently 22 precincts with 12,173 registered voters under the jurisdiction of the County Clerk. The Clerk also administers all elections for schools, parks, townships, and other special districts under his jurisdiction.

The County Clerk computes the tax rates of the various units of government based on the amount of assessed value within the district. Taxes are set by dividing the levy (taxes requested by district) by the assessed valuation (rate = levy/assessed value.) From these rates, individual tax bills are prepared.

The County Clerk prepares all claims and reports from each county office to be approved by the County Board. He/she monitors all licenses and permits as provided by County Board ordinance.

The County Clerk pays all county bills as approved by the County Board, and is the supervisor of the County Clerk's fee fund.

The County Clerk administers all oaths of office and maintains bonds of elected and appointed officials.

The County Clerk's office provides for the legal registration of voters and the maintenance of the voting record.

He/she supervises and provides training for election judges and is responsible for monitoring and supervising all deputy voting registrars, including training seminars.

The Recorder's office maintains the index and records of all property transactions. All real estate documents, corporation papers, city and village ordinances and other miscellaneous documents, together with all servicemen's separation and discharge papers, are recorded. The original document is returned to the individual presenting it for recording.

Mechanics' liens and notices of tax liens, both federal and state, are filed, and the original is retained in a permanent file in the office. Financing statements, indicating liens on chattel property and termination statements thereof, are also filed.

Each document is assigned an official document number at the time it is presented for record and is entered in the proper entry book and indexes for quick reference to record retrieval.

The Illinois Real Estate Transfer Act is administered through the Recorder's office. Revenue stamps are purchased by the Recorder for the state, and, in turn, sold to the individual and affixed to the deeds by the Recorder.

In Carroll County, the Recorder also maintains a tract index of real estate transactions, which indicates the title to the property and any mortgages or liens against it. The chain of title may be traced back to the original government grant in these indexes.