Champaign County, Illinois

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Champaign County is one of 102 counties in Illinois. It is home of several institutions of higher learning, including the largest school in the state, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.[1] Recent estimates pin the county's population at 195,671.[2]

Website evaluation

Grade2.pngA-
Budget Y
600px-Yes check.png
Meetings Y
600px-Yes check.png
Elected Officials Y
600px-Yes check.png
Administrative Officials Y
600px-Yes check.png
Permits, zoning
{{{1}}}
Audits Y
600px-Yes check.png
Contracts Y
600px-Yes check.png
Lobbying N
600px-Red x.png
Public records Y
600px-Yes check.png
Local taxes Y
600px-Yes check.png
County websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process


336px-Map of Illinois highlighting Champaign County.svg.png
Main Article: Evaluation of Illinois county websites

Last rated on March 3, 2013

The good

  • Meetings
    • Meeting calendar and agendas posted for county board meetings.[3]
    • Minutes are posted and archived to 2004.
    • Information on various county meetings is provided.[4]
  • Elected Officials
    • Contact information for county board members is posted.[5]
  • Administration
    • Administrative officials are listed in the directory.[6]
  • Budget
    • Current county budget is posted.[7]
    • Budgets are archived to 2006.
  • Audits
    • Most recent financial audit is posted.[8]
    • Audits are archived to 2004.[9]
  • Contracts
    • Current contracts are posted.[10]
    • Labor contracts are online.[11]
  • Permits and Zoning
    • Building permits and zoning information are available online.[12]
  • Taxes
    • Local tax information is listed on the Treasurer's page.[13]
  • Public Records

The bad

Lobbying

Main article: Lobbying in Champaign County, Illinois

Champaign County has spent at least $50,440.25 since 2004 on government sector lobbying.

Taxpayer-funded lobbying is the use of public funds by governments to influence other levels of government. Counties, for example, will pay lobbyists to influence the state or the federal government. This type of lobbying is often not disclosed to constituents. Counties hire lobbyists on a contractual basis, have lobbyists on staff, or join groups which promote or oppose legislation on their behalf. Lobbyists also help counties seeking specific projects or appropriations.


Champaign County did not disclose any lobbying contracts. It belongs to 21 government sector lobbying associations, including the National Association of Counties.

For more on Champaign County lobbying, see the main article.

Lobbying since 2004
$ lobbying total $ Illinois $ federal government $ lobbying groups # lobbying contracts # lobbying groups
$50,440.25 - - $50,440.25 - 21

Salaries

Champaign County salaries are salaries paid to elected officials and county employees. The website does not include the salaries of elected officials. The website does not list a total number of county employees.

Pensions

Main article: _(Sunshine_Review)|Illinois Public Pensions

The Champaign County website does not list the pension plan levels offered to its staff or elected officials.

In November 2010 a group of Champaign municipal leaders went to Springfield to air grievances over funding local pensions for police and fire departments. The municipal leaders said they could not afford the pension plans and were being forced to consider diminishing those departments because they do not have the funds to pay for police and fire employees and pay into the pension plans.[15] In July 2008, the city of Champaign's unfunded pension liability for the municipal fire department was $17.3 million.[16] According to the Champaign News-Gazette, local governments pay four times more into pension plans than what they did 20 years ago.[17]

Illinois is facing a crisis with its publicly funded pensions. In 2010 state government was responsible for over $130 billion in pension payments, however they only had $46 billion set aside, which leaves an unfunded liability of about $85 billion.[18] Finding a way to fund that $85 billion will be the focus of the 2011 general assembly. The Pew Center for the States reported that as of 2008, Illinois is one of the worst states at contributing to its pension systems. State lawmakers will consider selling $4 billion of bonds to pay the state's annual payment on the five pension programs it runs.[19] In April, the state legislature created a two-tier system for all municipal and state employees—including teachers and state lawmakers—hired after Jan 1, 2011. Police and fire were included in an earlier draft but removed shortly before the vote. For the others, retirement was raised to 67.[20]

External links

References