The purpose of the Freedom of Information Act (commonly known as FOIA or the Act) is to ensure that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government, and the official acts and policies of those who represent them as public officials. 

The principle mandate of the Act provides that each public body shall make available to any person for inspection, or upon submission of a written request, to provide copies of any requested records that are subject to disclosure under the Act.  Not all records are subject to disclosure; the Act provides a number of exemptions. 

This Act is not intended to be used to violate individual privacy, nor for the purpose of furthering a commercial enterprise, or to disrupt the duly-undertaken work of any public body independent of the fulfillment of any of the rights of the people to access to information (5 ILCS/140/1).  The Act does not require the County to create new records or to answer questions other than through the production of records. 

Pursuant to 5 ILCS/140/2(c), a public record is any records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communications, recorded information, and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of or under the control of any public body.

Response Time on FOIA Requests

All written requests shall be responded to within five (5) working days following the date the request is received. (5 ILCS/140/3)  The five (5) day count begins the day after the receipt of the FOIA request by the Department FOIA Officer, or designee.  The requester may be notified of a five (5) day extension (working days) if the files are voluminous, at different locations, or if other reasons make it impossible to assemble and mail the request out within the normal five (5) day period. 

Denial of FOIA Requests

All county employees are encouraged to provide information when requested by the public.  Information provided or denied must conform to the legal requirements under the Act.  It may also be denied if it falls within a category under 5 ILCS/140/3(f) of the Act. 

When a public body denies a request for public records, that body must, within five (5) days, or within an extended compliance period provided for in the Act, notify the person who made the request, by letter, of the decision to deny the request.  The letter must explain the reasons for denial, and give the names and titles of all persons responsible for the denial. 

Appeal of Denial of FOIA Requests

Each County Department has designated a FOIA Officer to receive and process FOIA requests for information available in the Department.  Any person denied access by a particular County Department to inspect or copy any public record for any reason may appeal the denial by sending a writing notice of appeal to the County FOIA Officer. 


FOIA requesters may have to pay fees covering some or all of the costs of processing their request.  Fees may be limited to actual mailing costs, duplication or publication costs.  If a fee is due, you will be contacted on the costs, which must be paid prior to receiving the requested documents.  If copying costs exceed $25.00, a letter stating that you will pay all copying fees will be requested prior to the processing of your request. 

Additional Information

For more information about FOIA Request response times and how to appeal a denial of a request please review the Freedom of Information Act at the Attorney General’s FOIA Guide at

Department FOIA Notices

Click on the following Department name to see a copy of their FOIA Notice, including office location and FOIA Officer Contact information:

Animal Control - The Animal Control Office investigates animal welfare cases, animal bite cases, enforces rabies control, stray animal control, pet registration/licensing fees, Pet Population Program, micro-chipping clinics, and an adoption program. 

Assessment Office -   The Assessment Office instructs and assists the elected township assessors in order to promote uniformity of assessments throughout the different townships.  In addition, the Assessment office handles a variety of administration items such as homestead exemption applications, transferring property ownership, maintaining the county mapping system and providing clerical assistance to the Lee County Board of Review. 

Board Chair - The Board Chair's office is responsible for administrative duties relating to the work of the Lee County Board. 

Clerk/Recorder - The County Clerk and Recorder's office handles all of the Vital Records (birth, death, marriage, civil union), registers Assumed Names and Notaries, pays all claims for the County, does the payroll for all county employees, and conducts all Federal, State, and Local elections.  This office also records all documents pertaining to real estae, handles delinquent taxes and mobile home records. 

Coroner - The County Coroner's primary function is to investigate and determine cause of death. 

Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB) - The Lee County ETSB was established pursuant to 50 ILCS 750/15.4 for the purpose of planning, coordination, and supervision of the implementation, upgrade, and maintenance of the E-911 System for Lee County . 

Emergency Management Agency (EMA) - The EMA was established pursuant to Section 10 of the IL Emergency Management Act [20 ILCS CS 3305/10].  The goal of this office is to save lives, stabilize incidents, and preserve property through prevention, preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation. 

Health Department - The Lee County Health Department (LCHD) was established in 1946 through a referendum of the citizens of Lee County.  As a certified local health department, LCHD is committed to the mission of public health - to assure conditions in which people can be healthy.  LCHD carries out the core functions of public health-assessment, policy development and assurance within Lee County.   

Highway - The Highway Department is responsible for the maintenance of 220 miles of roadway under County jurisdiction. 

Information Technology/Geographic Information Systems (IT/GIS) - The IT/GIS department provides technical hardware and software support for all county offices.  All software and hardware purchases facilitate through this office.  GIS provides mapping data for county offices and public access.  The IT/GIS department works In cooperation with the Assessment office to maintain all GIS map updates. 

Lee/Ogle Regional Office of Education #47 - The ROE performs regulatory and service functions as directed by the Illinois School Code.  The Code states that "the Regional Superintendent of Schools shall exercise supervision and control over all school districts in the region and shall act as the official adviser and assistant of the school officers and teachers in his region" ( 105 ILCS 5/3-4.2)  In addition to coordinating and delivering state and local services, the Regional Superintendent acts as an advocate for educators, school districts, and the public. For more information go to Regional Office Website   

Lee-Ogle Transportation System (LOTS) - Lee County is responsible for the administration of the Lee-Ogle Transportation System which provides public transportation to the residents of Lee and Ogle Counties. 

Maintenance - The Maintenance Department's primary function is to maintain all county owned buildings and grounds, including the Old Lee County Courthouse, the Lee County Courts Buildings, the 911 Center, the Sheriff's Building (incl. county jail), and the Fourth Street Building (former highway building now occupied by the Community Food Pantry). 

Office of Solid Waste Management - The Office of Solid Waste Management's mission is to implement the Lee County Solid Waste Management Plan, to assist the County's residents and businesses in diverting as much material as possible from final disposal, and to oversee the environmentally safe disposal of the County's remaining municipal waste. 

Planning/Zoning - The Planning/Zoning Department works with the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and Planning Commission to interpret, administrate and enforce the Lee County Zoning and Subdivision ordinances.  The Department provides information and direction to citizens regarding all development in unincorporated Lee County, from large scale subdivisions to the construction of garden sheds and fences. 

Probation Department - The Probation Department's purpose is to provide an offender who is placed under the department's supervision the opportunity to learn the proper tools necessary to return them back to a law abiding citizen and a contributing member of society.  The Department develops a planned program for each client based upon the client's needs and risks.  Further, the Department works with the community to provide resources and opportunities for the clients to be accepted back into society. 

Public Defender - Pursuant to 55 ILCS 5/2-5003(a) the Public Defender is appointed to represent indigent criminal defendants in all matters of criminal misdemeanors, felonies, juvenile, abuse & neglect, delinquency, extraditions, post-conviction matters and other indigent persons in matters of mental health commitment. 

Sheriff's Department - The primary duties and responsibilities for the Sheriff's Department are public safety, traffic and criminal law enforcement, criminal investigation, civil process, emergency response, dispatch communications, court house security and operation of the county jail. 

Treasurer's Office - The Treasurer's Office is responsible for collection/distribution of real estate tax bills, mobile home bills, drainage tax, county grant money, and tourism tax.  It also balances and distributes the county payroll and invests all county money. 

Veterans Assistance Commission - The mission of the Veterans Assistance Commission is to assist the veterans of Lee County, to oversee their transportation needs, and to authorize appropriations for the emergency needs of veterans.