By Steve White email@example.com
A simple yes/no vote on the ballot will decide if Hall County should combine the Register of Deeds with the County Assessor, a measure proposed as a cost savings.
Board Chair Pam Lancaster said, "We understand there will not be huge amount of savings, we believe there will be some. We also believe there will be efficiency."
Since both offices deal with property, county supervisors think employees could be cross-trained to help in both areas. But there's some dispute about other savings.
Assessor Jan Pelland said, "I would not anticipate there would space freed up through consolidation and that you still would have to have the same number of employees in each office."
Estimates vary on how much money would be saved, but officials say they have to try.
"There are no more dollars to be found," Lancaster said.
Pelland, the current assessor is not necessarily opposed, but cautious about the possibility of taking on more responsibility.
She told the board, "I think if the two departments were merged I think there should be additional compensation."
Pelland receives praise for considering the idea.
"You've been wonderful, you've been receptive," Lancaster told Pelland.
But Register of Deeds Mitch Clark did not attend the meeting putting the future of his office on the ballot.
He has made it clear in the past he's opposed. This spring he told NTV, "It's just a poor idea, bad idea from the get go."
Mitch Clark did not return a call seeking comment.
If passed, the merger would be phased in, with current office holders serving out the remainder of their terms before consolidating.
Pelland was the only one to speak at the public hearing about the consolidation. Lancaster left the hearing open, to give other speakers a chance, but none came forward.