Johnston County Commissioners might have set a governmental speed record Monday by holding a meeting that barely lasted 10 minutes.
Only one county department head came to speak at the special meeting, which the board convened to make adjustments to the county’s 2015-16 spending plan. Last month, County Manager Rick Hester submitted a $201 million budget proposal that maintains Johnston’s current property-tax rate.
The sole request came from Registrar of Deeds Craig Olive, who would like to hire an additional deputy registrar to handle his office’s growing workload.
In addition to the uptick in customers the registrar has seen since the economy began picking up, the office has stretched its existing staff by offering additional services, Olive said.
Last July, Olive said, the Johnston office became the second registrar in North Carolina to process U.S. passport applications. So far, the office has handled 1,523 applications and generated $45,280 for the county. The registrar also takes passport photos for $10, and that has brought in $7,680.
“It’s a one-stop shop,” Olive said.
And last November, the office began notarizing documents at no cost. That has proved popular, Olive said, because most notaries charge for the service.
Olive would like to hire a deputy registrar who would mainly record documents and issue vital records, such as birth, marriage and death certificates. Olive currently has eight full-time and one part-time employees on staff.
The office needs more help with vital records, Olive said, because federal law prohibits a single worker from handling both passports and birth certificates. Obtaining a passport requires a birth certificate, Olive said, so the government requires the separation of those duties.
The registrar has enough revenue to fund an extra worker, Olive said, but he wanted to ask the commissioners for permission before creating a new position.
“I only ask for what we need, not what we want,” he said.
After Olive spoke, Chairman Tony Braswell asked if anyone else planned to speak at the meeting.
No other agency had mentioned plans to present, Hester said, except for the forestry service, which plans to attend the board’s next budget meeting at 6 p.m. June 22 at the Johnston County Courthouse. The final vote on the budget is set for 8:15 a.m. June 29.
With no other business to conduct, the board adjourned at 6:10 p.m.
“Thank you for this extraordinary short meeting,” Braswell said.
Registrar wins IT award
In other news out of the registrar of deeds, the Johnston office recently received Tyler Technology’s Eagle 2015 Excellence Award.
The company uses the awards to recognize organizations that put its products to new and especially effective use, according to a news release.
Johnston won the award for using the company’s Eagle Web software to provide free online access to records dating back to the mid-1700s. The service saves lawyers and other users trips to the registrar’s office, the release states, and it allows access around the clock.
“It is an honor to be able to receive this prestigious award,” Olive said in a statement. “Tyler was able to take the data our office already had in our historical index and use it to better assist the general public with access to our records.”