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Above: The Columbia County Courthouse, built in 1852, is the focal point of the town square in Magnolia.


Left: State Rep. David Fielding (District 5) looks through the tax books with Columbia County Tax Collector Cindy Walker. Walker said she has rebound about 10-15 books every year as time and resources have allowed.


State Rep. spends the day with Columbia Co. Collector


State Rep. spends day with Columbia Co. Collector


By Scott Perkins County Lines Editor


Editor’s note: Tis is the second in a series of articles focusing on state representatives and senators job-shadowing their respec- tive county elected officials.


time is the only time collectors are busy. “We are always working on an aspect of the tax collection


O 22


process whether it be running statements and printing tax books or certifications or closing the books and balancing or mailing delinquent notices,” Walker said. “Another mis- conception is that some tax payers don’t realize that the vast majority of the payments we collect go to directly to fund our public schools.” State Rep. David Fielding (District 5) spent one busy Oc- tober morning job shadowing Walker. It was only days before the Oct. 15 deadline and the office was hustling and bustling as tax payers filtered in and out of the office. Te Colum- bia County Tax Collector’s office is designed very similar to a bank with several teller windows. “It was a new experience to see all that office does on a first- hand base after being on the quorum court for 20 years. I had very little knowledge of what goes on in her office; but was aware of how the tax payers’ money is issued that is collected for the county.”


ctober is a busy time for tax collectors across the state, but Cindy Walker, Columbia Coun- ty Tax Collector says the main misconception about the collector’s office is that tax payment


Fielding was appointed to the Columbia County Quorum


Court in 1989 by then-Gov. Bill Clinton. He served 20 years until he then ran for the state representative seat in district 5. “I think it is very important that our state representatives and senators know how the passage of certain laws will af- fect county government before they are implemented. Many times laws are passed without the necessary funds to support the law,” Walker said. “I think it would be a great benefit for all state senators and representatives to shadow county offi- cials to get a better understanding of the workings of county government. Tose who have experience in a county or mu- nicipal office have this understanding.” Walker is in her fourth term as tax collector and has imple- mented several new practices and protocols. Consolidating statements and receipts was one accom- plishment staffers of the office raved about. Accepting partial payments has been another benefit for tax payers while the online payments have increased efficiency as well. “We try to make it as convenient and pleasant as possible for our tax payers,” Walker said. “We greet them with a smile and have found that a little kindness goes a long way.” Fielding said he was pleased to see county records preserved on film and with the rebounding process that is ongoing in the office. “Shadowing is a good tool to use to see what all the county office has to do each day,” Fielding said. “It helps to under- stand county government more when legislative bills come before us.” Rebounding of the real estate books is a project Walker manages on the side of the normal operations of the office.


COUNTY LINES, FALL 2012 22


Features Arkansas Co. Judges conduct business at annual fall meeting ..........................25


COUNTY OFFICIAL PROFILE


Jones engages values in


Van Buren County 35


Trina Jones Van Buren County Assessor n Born in Leslie, Ark., in Searcy County n Graduated from


Clinton High School in 1984 n Began working for the county in high school for the sheriff/collector n In 2003, started first mapping program in assessor’s office n Elected assessor in 2006 n Volunteers for CASA, The Call


Jones engages values in Van Buren County


iligently working is a trait that she came by honestly. She learned that from her Granny Page. Her life was built on working hard in her profes- sional and personal lives as she always strived to do the job right and treat people as she would want to be treated. When the passion for getting the job done brings a little extra stress, she finds relief in a peaceful setting nestled in the beauty of Van Buren County.


D READ MORE >>>>>>


EQ Board meets north of the river ............................................................................48 Arkansas County Clerks hold continuing education meeting . ............................50 AAC member discount update; how to survive the holidays................................52


Inside Look AAC Board Profile: Conway County Judge Jimmy Hart .........................................19


COUNTY LINES, FALL 2012 35


Winters reflects on upbringing looks to future for ACIC .......................................49 Top 10 Disaster prevention, planning checklist .....................................................51


More than 500 members and vendors gathered in Washington County to attend the 44th an- nual Association of Arkansas Counties Conference Aug. 8-10 in Springdale. Sixty-nine counties were represented at the conference. From tee off for the Randy Kemp Memorial Golf Tournament to the closing session on Friday, elected county officials and county employees again came together to learn, share and collectively make county government better for the people of Arkansas. “Te AAC staff, led by Jeanne Hunt, once again organized and executed an excellent confer-


ence,” said Chris Villines, AAC executive director. “Our speakers’ topics were varied and all did a wonderful job. Te breakout sessions were high quality and all member associations reported effective and productive meetings during our conference. We thank all our sponsors and vendors for their support and passion for county government.”


Te theme was “County Government ... It’s a Jungle Out there.” n Complete list of conference SPONSORS AND VENDORS > > > 40-41 n Summary of SPEAKERS AND PRESENTATIONS n AAC ANNUAL SAFETY AWARDS


n RANDY KEMP MEMORIAL GOLF TOURNAMENT n MEMBER ASSOCIATION MEETINGS


> > > 42-45 >>> 44 >>> 45


> > > 46-47


AAC conference revisited - “It’s a Jungle Out There!”


38 38 COUNTY LINES, FALL 2012 Cover stories


Keepin’ up with the Joneses


County Lines in Dallas County


At home & in office in Dallas County...........28


Assessing the situation .. ................................30


The Official Publication of the Association of Arkansas Counties


Dallas County Quick Facts ............................ 31


FALL 2012 27 Cover Notes:


he cover is composed of two photographs from Dallas County. The Dallas County Courthouse was built in 1911 by architect Frank W. Gibb who also designed the Yell County Courthouse. The two structures are considered to be cousins in the architectural sense. The courthouse only cost $65,000 to build, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 27, 1984. Since 1997, Dallas County has received 10 courthouse grants totaling $350,475.


T


The second photograph on the cover features Jimmy (county judge) and Donna Jones (assessor), who are the only husband and wife to also serve in county elected office in the state. They stand in front of Steam Engine 101 which is on display in downtown Fordyce only two blocks from the courthouse.


Dallas County Courthouse / Jimmy & Donna Jones “


Departments Calendar of Events .........................................................................................................6


From the Director’s Desk ..............................................................................................7 President’s Perspective ................................................................................................9 Legislative Corner ........................................................................................................10 Attorney General Opinions .........................................................................................11 Frequently Asked Questions ......................................................................................12 From the Governor .......................................................................................................13 County Law Update ......................................................................................................14 College savings should be on your mind all the time ...........................................17 Seems to Me .................................................................................................................20 Advertiser Resource Index .........................................................................................58


In This IssueFALL 2012


(AAC Photos / Scott Perkins)


I’m just a simple plow hand from Arkansas, but I have learned over the years how to hold a team


others down, until finally they’ve got one beat, together,


together. How to lift some men a team.


— Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant Source: www.winwisdom.com





up, how to calm heart-


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