Crawford County residents will decide whether or not to enact a significant change for its county government later this year.
The Crawford County Quorum Court approved an ordinance calling an election on the question of reorganizing the county government to be more efficient by transferring the duties of clerk of the probate court to the circuit clerk from the county clerk during its regular meeting Monday. The election will be part of the Nov. 6 general election.
Prior to this, the justices of the peace approved an ordinance to accept an analysis that was conducted to determine if this alternative county government organization would make the county more efficient. The JPs approved an ordinance to initiate and conduct this analysis during their regular meeting June 18.
Judge Charles Baker, state district court judge for Crawford County, said he serves on the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Strategic Planning that Judge Dan Kemp, chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, put in place at the beginning of 2017. Three goals of this committee are to try to help the state court system move toward more efficiency, operate more economically and be more user-friendly.
Baker said Kemp has asked the members of this committee to speak out any time they encounter a government body or a group who is involved in discussions about making changes.
“And this is a change that I think actually fits all three of those criteria,” Baker said. “I think it’s going to make our local 21st judicial district court system operate more economically, I think we’re going to operate more efficiently, and it’s going to make it easier for people who have to access the probate court, and so I’d just like to … encourage you guys to consider this. Let’s get it out to the voters, and get them the information that they need to make an informed decision.”
Baker said he thinks this change is a “giant step forward” for Crawford County.
The Crawford County Quorum Court also approved an ordinance adopting an interlocal agreement between the counties and cities in the Sebastian County mental health catchment area concerning the operations of the Sebastian County Five West Crisis Stabilization Unit. The catchment area includes Crawford, Sebastian, Franklin, Logan, Scott and Polk counties, as well as each incorporated city in those counties.