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History and Overview


Sangamon County, located in the heart of Illinois, was founded in 1821 and originally was about 4,000 square miles. A commission of three first governed the area and their first act was to select the county seat. A stake driven in a field near Spring Creek was christened as Springfield.

Elijah Iles laid out Springfield's first streets and once owned the entire town jointly with Pascal P. Enos. To learn more about Springfield and Sangamon County, author Edward J. Russo has written a book called "Prairie of Promise".

Sangamon County was also home to Abraham Lincoln.

Sangamon County Flag Honors

All persons or entitities covered by the Protocols and Procedures for Placement of Flags at Half Staff at the Sangamon County Buildings are to fly the flag of the United States of America and Sangamon County flag at half-staff in accordance with the following:



Flags at all Sangamon County Buildings, including off site departments, will adhere to the following procedures when flags are to be placed at half staff, according to the County Board Chairman who states:

The flag will be lowered to half staff to show honor and respect under the following circumstances, when:

  • Directed by the President of the United States.
  • Directed by the Governor of the state of Illinois.
  • Directed by the County Board Chairman's office when death occurs to county personnel in the following positions:

7 Days for the following - Currently holding an office

  • Auditor
  • Clerk of the Circuit Court
  • Coroner
  • County Board Chairman
  • County Board Members
  • County Clerk
  • Recorder
  • Regional Office of Education
  • Sheriff
  • State's Attorney
  • Treasurer
  • Judges
  • Police: line-of-duty
  • ESA - Line-of-duty

Death to Burial

  • Past Auditor
  • Past Clerk of the Circuit Court
  • Past Coroner
  • Past County Board Member
  • Past County Clerk
  • Past Recorder
  • Past Regional Office of Education
  • Past Sheriff
  • Past State's Attorney
  • Past Treasurer
  • Past Judges
  • Any Sangamon County Soldier killed in the line of duty

Day of Burial

  • County Employee (line-of-duty)
  • Police: Non line-of-duty


  • 7 Days
  • Death to Burial
  • Day of Burial

7-16-01 - Approved by the Building and Grounds Committee
Rosemarie Long-Chairman, Abe Forsythe-Vice Chair, Chuck Rowland, Greg Stumpf, Billy Earl, Randy Wells

* Amendment to Protocols and Procedures for flag policy:

The amendment establishes and requires all County buildings to lower the flag at half staff when a Sangamon County soldier is killed in the line of duty and remain half staff during the time the body is being transported home and through the day the soldier is buried in recognition and honor of their service to our country.

7-26-10 – Amendment to policy by Building and Grounds Committee
Rosemarie Long-Chairman, John Fulgenzi-Vice Chair, Jim Good, Sarah Musgrave and Doris Turner          



Sangamon County Flag

The Sangamon County Board recognized a need for a meaningful symbol to represent Sangamon County. The Building and Grounds Committee Chairman, Rosemarie Long, (District 10) and Craig Hall, (District 7) suggested that a county flag be created. In response, a countywide contest was launched to create an official Sangamon County flag.

On October 1, 2002, the Sangamon County Board unveiled the proposed flag design for the official Sangamon County Flag at a press conference in the County Board Chambers. Members of the press and media, elected officials and the artist, Ashley Schutt, were in attendance.

Winning Design

Sangamon County Flag

County Government

Prior to describing the services provided by the county, it may be helpful to explain the general structure of Sangamon County government. The county level of government is directed by a bipartisan board consisting of 29 members. Sangamon County is divided into 29 districts of equal population and a county board representative is elected from each one.

Each board member serves a four year term with approximately half of the board elected in alternating two year periods to facilitate continuity of management through the election period. The County Board Chairman and Vice Chairman are elected by the board from among its members every two years. Most board members have full time jobs and devote evenings and time off to the governing of the county. They are assigned to serve on standing committees that oversee departments and agencies, financing, and various other responsibilities of the county. Special committees are formed as the need arises.

The County Board serves as a regulatory council, receiving information from an Executive Board, which is composed of 13 members and a chairman. The 13 Executive Board members are the chairmen of the 13 standing committees and the chairman is always the County Board Chairman. The County Board Chairman appoints the chairmen of the standing committees as well as of any special committees.

Each board member has one vote, with the chairman voting only in case of a tie. A quorum of 15 board members must be present for a vote to take place. The majority of the members present rule. All County Board meetings are open to the public.

The primary regulatory tool available to the County Board is the annual budget that is appropriated through the Finance Committee. All county offices are associated with this standing committee. The board also regulates certain policies and appoints some of the non-elected department heads.

The job of County Administrator is a salaried position directly responsible to the County Board Chairman. The administrator serves as a liaison between the County Board and the county officials, employees, departments, agencies and activities related to the county and its residents. If a citizen has a problem, the County Administrator will resolve the problem or will direct him to the proper office, agency, or committee to handle it.

County Offices and Departments

The number of elected and appointed offices or departments within a county's government varies depending on its population. However, the Illinois State Constitution designates a minimum of a County Clerk, Treasurer, and Sheriff. The State's Attorney's office is also a constitutionally designated position, but because the State's Attorney may serve more than one county, the position is not designated in the minimum requirement for each county. The offices of Recorder, Auditor, Superintendent of Schools, Coroner, Circuit Court Clerk, Supervisor of Assessments, and County Engineer are designated in state statutes. All other county departments and associate agencies are incorporated into county government by county ordinance.

Sangamon County has the following: nine elected offices, seven departments including two administrative support departments (Central Services and Information Systems) with heads appointed by the County Board; and six agencies or offices related to the county by a special county tax levy or by budgeting through the County Board with Department heads appointed by other official boards or committees. The elected offices are for four year terms with approximately half being elected in alternating two year periods. The appointed department heads serve at the pleasure of the appointing board except for the County Engineer who is appointed to a six year term by the County Board with the certification and consent of the Illinois Department of Transportation. The Supervisor of Assessments must also take an examination and be certified by the State of Illinois.

The 7th Judicial Circuit Court is separate from County Government and is directed by the State Court System.

The majority of the Sangamon County government offices, unless otherwise noted in the text, are in the Sangamon County Building, located at 200 South Ninth Street in Springfield, IL 62701-1629. This building, completed in 1991, also houses the 7th Judicial Circuit Court offices and courtrooms. The Sheriff's Department, including the jail, is located at #1 Sheriff's Plaza in a separate building behind the County Building, but linked by a walk-through and entrance on Adams Street between 9th and 10th Streets.

Township Government

While most people are familiar with their city or village government, few people are familiar with the form of government for unincorporated areas called township government. Generally townships provide services to unincorporated segments of the county. However, there are a few exceptions. There are some townships in the State of Illinois where the township boundaries nearly coincide with city boundaries and Capital Township (City of Springfield) is one of them.

Township government operates basically the same as county government but on a smaller, more simplified scale. There are four elected town trustees who vote on issues of regulations, service, and the disbursement of funds. In addition to the trustees, there are three to five elected officials to direct the daily functions of the township: Township Clerk, Assessor, Highway Commissioner, Collector, and Supervisor. Sometimes, as in the case of Capital Township, the County Treasurer serves as a Township Collector and Township Supervisor. The Township Clerk records the proceedings of township trustees' meetings and administers the filing and preservation of all bills of account acted upon by the trustees and other records pertaining to the township. The Township Assessor assesses and keeps records on all properties in the township, including mobile homes, to be reported to the County Supervisor of Assessments for comparison and reconciliation with other townships in the county. The Township Highway Commissioner supervises the construction, repair, and maintenance of all the township roads and bridges. The Township Collector receives the first installment of property taxes on property in that township. The Township Supervisor administers the township general fund and any public service for the township such as general assistance.

For further information concerning the various township trustees and officials and their phone numbers, call the County Treasurer at: 217-753-6800.

General Assistance is monetary aid provided by township governments to persons not eligible for any other type of public assistance or supplemental security income, such as public aid or social security. This aid is intended primarily for the unemployed or for the underemployed person (one who works full time or part time but does not make enough to give his family the basic necessities). However, it can also be used in certain cases by a childless couple or a person who has been denied categorical assistance.

Springfield Township is a General Assistance receiving agent funded primarily by the State of Illinois. They must levy a local tax in an amount specified by the Illinois Department of Human Services in order to qualify for State Funds. They must also follow Illinois Department of Human Services rules and regulations when dispersing the aid.

Capital and Woodside Townships are autonomous and receive no state aid. Their tax bases are sufficient to fund their General Assistance programs. The amount levied for taxes are based upon the amount deemed necessary to provide adequate assistance for the indigent of their respective Townships. Assistance is administered through their own eligibility requirements and regulations.

In Capital Township, aid is provided for four distinct categories of assistance. These categories are: Transitional Assistance (those considered "not employable"), Children & Family (expectant mothers who are not yet eligible for Public Aid), Emergency Assistance (rent, utility, food, prescription, clothing, eyewear, and dental assistance), and the Workfare Program (provides employment for adults who are willing and able to work.)

A copy of Capital Township's General Assistance Program explaining the various types and amounts of assistance is available from that office located at 621 East Monroe, Springfield, IL 62701. The phone number is 217-525-1736.

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