SALINE COUNTY, AR (News release) - A pilot program will provide Saline County residents with access to some county government services without having to drive to Benton starting Jan. 8, 2014.
Saline County Circuit Clerk Dennis Milligan said the county will open a satellite office near Hot Springs Village to provide better service to the people in western Saline County. Each Wednesday, Patrick Rhodes, a deputy circuit clerk, will be in the office in Summit Bank, 24705 Hwy. 5, to meet with people that have problems or need information involving the offices of circuit clerk, county clerk and treasurer.
“When I first ran for circuit clerk in 2010, many people told me that they thought Hot Springs Village was treated like a step-child by Saline County government. When I got elected, I was determined that would not be the case as far as the circuit clerk’s office was concerned,” Milligan said. “This idea isn’t new, but things just aligned recently to make this office possible.”
Having the office open one day a week will be done with a minimum cost to the county. Summit Bank is providing office space and Wi-Fi for free. The county clerk’s office is providing a printer. The circuit clerk’s office is providing a laptop computer and Rhodes’s time. Since Rhodes lives in the Village, there is no mileage.
“Since I live in the Village, Dennis asked me to locate office space for a county office. I approached Donna Aylward, the vice president at Summit Bank. I had worked with her before because Summit Bank is where Villagers early vote in Saline County. Donna was very generous in allowing the use of space in Summit Bank’s office on Hwy. 5,” Rhodes said.
Originally, the office was just going to be for the circuit clerk’s office, but when word got out that Milligan was looking at a satellite office, other county officials asked about joining in.
County Treasurer Larry Davis and County Clerk Doug Curtis are participating in the program. Other county officials may join in.
“For my office, Patrick Rhodes is the perfect choice to staff the office. He has worked in every division in my office. He is a former justice of the peace from the village area and knows a lot about county government. With other offices joining in, if someone has a question he can’t answer, he can get on the phone and get them an answer,” Milligan said.
One important duty of the satellite office will be to let people know how much information is already available to them already on the Internet. Saline County is the first county in the state to have a One-Stop-Shop page where people can put in the kind of records they are looking for and be taken to the right office that maintains those records.
“I think people will be very pleasantly surprised with what is already available to them on the Internet. Educating the public will be an important function of the Hot Springs Village office,” Rhodes said.
A log will be kept on how many people use the Village office. If there is enough business for it, the office will continue beyond the six month trial period, Milligan said.
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