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County Lines Magazine

County Lines is the official publication of the Association of Arkansas Counties. It is published quarterly. For advertising inqui- ries, subscriptions or other information re- lating to the magazine, please contact Scott Perkins at 501.372.7550.

Executive Director / Executive Editor Chris Villines

Managing Editor Scott Perkins

AAC Executive Board: Mike Jacobs – President

Roger Haney – Vice President Sherry Bell Rita Chandler Rhonda Wharton

Danny Hickman – Secretary-Treasurer Debra Buckner Jim Crawford Jimmy Hart

Judy Beth Hutcherson Faron Ledbetter Gene Raible Will Jones

Leonard Krout Bill Gipson Marty Moss Debbie Wise

National Association of Counties (NACo) Board Affiliations

Alvin Black: Public Lands Steering Committee. He is the Montgomery County Judge.

Roger Haney: Board of Directors. He is the Wash- ington County Treasurer and is also on the Telecom- munications & Technology Steering Committee.

Ted Harden: Finance & Intergovernmental Affairs Steering Committee. He serves on the Jefferson County Quorum Court.

Haze Hudson: Transportation Steering Committee. He serves on the Miller County Quorum Court.

David Hudson: Vice Chair of NACo’s Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee. He is the Sebastian County Judge and member of the Rural Action Caucus Steering Committee.

Mike Jacobs: NACo Board of Directors, the Mem- bership Committee and the Agricultural & Rural Affairs Steering Committee. He is the Johnson County Judge.


government have taken center stage – relegating the day- to-day management of government to the shelf. But hope remains that in the wake of Nov. 6 we will find ourselves returning to some sense of normalcy; one where county government can re-train its collective eyes to the provision of essential service to our constituents in an efficient and competent manner.


The ‘shalls,’ ‘mays’ of county government

erspective is an invaluable thing. In govern- ment, it can be argued that we have lost a great deal of this in the current election cycle, one where issues largely inconsequential to county

Chris Villines AAC

Executive Director

American Author John Irving once penned, “We often need to lose sight of our priorities in order to see them.”

Te priorities of law enforcement, court systems, recordation of marriage licenses and deeds, building county roads and an effective property tax system have been scantly dis- cussed on a national or state legislative stage. Te administration of government is lost in a sea of hot button topics rarely, if ever, dealt with in the offices of our courthouses.

Here at the Association of Arkansas Counties we like to step back from time to time to look, again, at what counties in Arkansas are tasked with. And any such evaluation has to be put into perspective by asking ourselves “What do the counties have to do?” and alternatively, “what are counties empowered for and want to do?”

It is only through this lens that we as counties can accurately determine what are the

needs versus the desires of our structure? Tis is an essential question that should be asked across all levels of society, and one that has undoubtedly been discussed during these hard times in every household in America. Our families are having to make these tough calls, mandated to provide food, clothing and shelter above all else. So what is the “food, clothing and shelter” of county government? And what are the accouterments that we all like when times are good?

Te answer to this question lies in Arkansas Code Annotated §14-14-802. Tis code simply breaks down the “shall” and “may” of county government as below:

§14-14-802 – Providing of services generally.

(a) A county government, acting through the county quorum court, shall provide (em- phasis mine), through ordinance, for the following necessary services for its citizens: (1) The administration of justice through the several courts of record of the county;

(2) Law enforcement protection services and the custody of persons accused or con- victed of crimes;

(3) Real and personal property tax administration, including assessments, collection, and custody of tax proceeds;

(4) Court and public records management, as provided by law, including registration, recording and custody of public records; and

(5) All other services prescribed by state law for performance by each of the elected county officers or departments of county government.

Te balance of this section pertains to the “may” provisions of county govern- ment, and is in my opinion more descriptively helpful regarding the boundary between the two than the requirements that precede it. It reads as follows:

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Director’s Desk

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