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					                                      The Clerk’s Corner

►County Clerk’s records go digital!
►Going Blue for Child Abuse
►A Striking Season for the County Clerk’s
 sponsored softball team,
►The Clerk’s Column: A personal blog from
 Arturo Guajardo, Jr.
►County Clerk employees receive CPR
 certification
►A few comments from our customers
         Hidalgo County Clerk’s Office




          Welcome to the first issue of the Hidalgo County Clerk’s Office quarterly newsletter. As your County Clerk I am excited to share
          our latest news and developments with you. Here at the County Clerk’s Office we strive to make government more accessible
          to our public. It’s vital to our fine customer service that we keep our constituents informed and in tune with our latest
          improvements.

          Since the new year, your County Clerk’s Office has implemented an array of technological advances to improve the
          quality and efficiency of our service. Currently, numerous departments are benefiting from these innovations.
          Additionally, our office is expanding its service to the public in a distinct manner. In the interest of keeping our
          constituents well-serviced, our office opened its doors every other Saturday from April 18 through May 30, 2009 to
          process birth certificates before the June 1 passport deadline. Our purpose was to accommodate our services to
          the schedules of our customers. Our office will continue to take necessary measures to meet the demands from
          our constituents.

          Our office also spearheaded the “Go Blue” project, which reached out to the community and
          made a measurable difference in the lives of abused children in Hidalgo County. Our Go
          Green effort is surfacing a change too. Since March, the County Clerk’s Office has contribut-
          ed to the conservation of our earth and has recycled over 3,000 pounds of paper, aluminum,
          and plastic.

          Your County Clerk’s Office prides itself on assisting its constituents as efficiently and
          effectively as possible; we prioritize customer service as our principal goal. The
          County Clerk’s Office works for the taxpayers and thus strives to serve them in a
          superb manner. I hope you enjoy this first issue of the County Clerk’s Office
          quarterly newsletter.


                                                                                      Pictured to the
                                                                                         right: Empty
                                                                                   shelves that once
                                                                                 held approximately
                                                                                    100 Deed Record
The County Clerk’s Office houses thousands of personal records                   Books. The records
dating back to the 1800’s. After relentless requests to locate specific           within those books
documents, the original Deed Record Books became worn, pushing                   have been digitized
forward the need to go digital.                                                      and entered into
                                                                                        our computer
After approximately two years, the project is now complete.                      system, making our
                                                                                 service much more
Currently, 5,518 record books have been digitized, each book                               immediate.
containing 1,000 pages of records including Deed Records, Oil and
Gas Lease Records, Tax Lien Records, and more. All records
dating back to 1977 are now available online for public use.

With this new innovation, Deputy Clerks’ efficiency and productivity are increasing as they are able to locate all documents requested
in a timely manner. Since all Record Books have been digitized and moved to an off-site warehouse for permanent preservation, office space has
become available to renovate and utilize as a user-friendly and modern computer lab. The public will soon be able to use the restored area to
search for personal documents through our electronic system.




                                                In March 2009 The County Clerk’s Office commenced a recycling initiative. All paper, plastic, and
                                                aluminum items circulating through the office are placed inside recycling bins scattered throughout
                                                the office. The County Clerk’s Office recycles approximately 200-300 lbs of paper weekly and also
                                                fills four separate recycling bins with aluminum and plastic items every two-three weeks. Your
                                                County Clerk is forwarding an effort to conserve the earth and go green. The County Clerk’s Office
                                                is proud to implement an initiative that is both positive and exhibits evident change.
       Hidalgo County Clerk’s Office


                         Pictured to the right: Hand prints left by child abuse
                                                    victims at Estrella’s House.

                        Pictured below from left to right: Kristy Meyer, Estrella’s
                         House Public Relations; Arturo Guajardo, Jr., Hidalgo
                         County Clerk; Bobby Garcia, Estrella’s House Board
                        President; Lorena Castillo, Estrella’s House Board Trea-
                      surer and Roberto Garcia, Executive Director for Estrella’s
                                                                           House.




The Hidalgo County Clerk’s Office felt the blues in April as County
Clerk Arturo Guajardo Jr. advocated child abuse prevention across
Hidalgo County.
But April, National Child Abuse Awareness Month, had many
Americans feeling blue.
Originating in Virginia, the blue-ribbon symbol came about when a
grandmother lost her grandson to child abuse in 1989. To remem-
ber him she tied a small blue ribbon to the antenna of her car, hop-
ing that it would raise awareness about the tragic dangers of child                                                       Eight of those children lost their
                                                                                      The office of the County Clerk
abuse in her community. The color blue is meant to signify the                                                            lives during the Fiscal Year
                                                                                      worked through the month of
bruised bodies of child abuse victims.                                                                                    2008 as a result of this tragic
                                                                                      April to raise a considerable
Mr. Guajardo kicked off the County Clerk's Office Go Blue Move-                                                           issue.
                                                                                      donation for the Children’s Ad-
ment on Wednesday, April 8, 2009, and stressed his interest in                                                            Thanks to participation from
                                                                                      vocacy Center of Hidalgo
supporting the significant national cause.                                                                                five county schools, including
                                                                                      County - Estrella’s House.
                                                                                      Raising a total of $1,000 dollars   Edinburg North High School,
                                                                                      Mr. Guajardo was overjoyed          Veterans Memorial High
                                                                                      with the successful project.        School, Canterbury Elementa-
                          One lucky high school student won the                       According to the Estrella's         ry, Travis Elementary, and Rob-
                          chance to spend a day out of class and                      House web site, they serve an       ert E Lee Elementary, the
                          inside the Hidalgo County Courthouse.                       average of 85 children for first    County Clerk's office was
                          After a county-wide essay contest for high                  time treatment every month.         adorned with spirited banners
                          school juniors and seniors, County Clerk                    In 2008, Child Protective Ser-      supporting the awareness.
                          Arturo Guajardo, Jr. and Chief Deputy                       vices dealt with 2,819 con-         “Our mission was to facilitate
                          Annette Muniz chose the lucky winner.                       firmed victims of child abuse or    assistance for child abuse vic-
                          Sharyland High School senior Javier Cantu                   neglect from Hidalgo County,        tims in Hidalgo County. With
                          spent May 26, 2009 shadowing our County                     according to a CPS Public In-       the donations raised, our office
                          Clerk.                                                      formation Officer.                  was able to accomplish that for
                          Cantu found himself surrounded by edu-                                                          children at Estrella’s House,”
                          cated and esteemed government officials                                                         Guajardo said.
                          and was provided the superb opportunity
                          to discuss his ideas to improve our quality
                          of service. Additionally, he closely ob-
                          served the inner-workings of the office.
                          He was recognized in Commissioner’s
                          Court and received an Award of Achieve-
                          ment from the Hidalgo County Clerk.
                          Through this project, Mr. Guajardo hoped
                          to enlighten young adults about the impor-
                          tance of county government.
                          Cantu said he enjoyed the experience and
                          intends to attend college to study law.
                                                                                                Veterans Memorial High School students
                                                                                                      created and donated this banner
                                                                                                     advocating Child Abuse Prevention.
     Hidalgo County Clerk’s Office




                                                                                                                                                 Hidalgo
                                                                                                                                             County
                                                                                                                                         Clerk employ-
                                                                                                                                    ees triumphed on
                                                                                                                                the field this year. The
                                                                                                                           Clerks, a softball team
                                                                                                                       sponsored by County Clerk
                                                                                                                   Arturo Guajardo Jr., performed ex-
                                                                                                              ceptionally well throughout the season.
                                                                                                         The Clerks didn’t strike themselves out of a
                                                                                                   first place trophy quickly. In fact, they brought in
                                                                                              enough runs to keep them undefeated through eight
                                                                                         games! Competing for the first time together, this softball
                                                                                   team – consisting mostly of county clerk employees – proved to be
                                                                             a tough contender. Hosted by the Edinburg Parks and Recreation De-
                                                                       partment, the 2009 Spring Men’s Class D Softball League consisted of 10 teams
                                                               including: The Clerks, Grip & Rip, Hit Men, Renaissance Renegades, Trojans, Dia-
                                                        mond Jaxx, Running Rebels, Living Word Church, Shake & Bake, and the Valley Comfort
                                             Systems Dawgs.
                             After a sour loss against the Diamond Jaxx and the Renaissance Renegade during their fifth meet, The Clerks came back
strong the following week to regain the chance to claim a championship. The hope for a championship trophy was high, but facing off with Grip and
Rip on May 14 left The Clerks a few points short of the grand title. However, they didn’t go home empty handed. The Clerks accepted their second
place trophy with pride and look forward to their next season. Mr. Guajardo expressed his excitement with the team’s success.

“When I decided to sponsor this team, I simply wanted to unite my employees for an enjoyable cause. They’ve done extremely well this season and
even though it was never about winning, I am thrilled they brought home a second place trophy,” Guajardo said.

Team players say they had a great time during their first season. With a new season, which kicked off in June 2009, The Clerks intend to continue
sliding through home plate to head home victorious once more.

If you’re interested in watching these all-stars on the field, stop by the Edinburg Municipal Park located at 714 S. Raul Longoria Rd.




            Pictured from left to right:         The Hidalgo County Clerk’s Office is ranking high in excellence this year. The Collections Department
        County Clerk Arturo Guajardo Jr.,
                                                 returned home with a few awards from a conference hosted by GCAT (Governmental Collectors
       Collections Specialist Ana De Luna,
       Collections Supervisor Jason Rohr         Association of Texas,) which occurred from May 19 – May 20 in Galveston, TX.
                                                 Receiving the Excellence in Service Award, the Collections Department proved themselves a profi-
                                                 cient office capable of exceptional work. Additionally, District Clerk Collections Specialist Ana De
                                                 Luna, who works under the supervision of the Hidalgo County Clerk, came home a big winner too. She
                                                 received the 2009 Collector of the Year Award for the state of Texas. These are the department’s third
                                                 and fourth awards from the GCAT since 2005.
                                                 The Clerk’s Office congratulates all award recipients and appreciates their commitment to the office
                                                 and its work.
                                                 Last year Arcilia “Arcy” Morales was named Collector of the Year. It’s been a successful run for the
                                                 Collections Department since its establishment in 1999; current Judge J.D. Salinas and County Clerk
                                                 Arturo Guajardo, Jr. spearheaded that project. Since Mr. Guajardo took office as County Clerk in 2006
                                                 the Collections Department has collected a total of $13,673,860 dollars. So far this year, the office
                                                 has collected $1,642,484 dollars.
         Hidalgo County Clerk’s Office

                                  sC olumn
         lerk’
                                                                                      No two days are alike


    he C
                                                                   at the County Clerk’s Office. One day I’ll find myself
                                                       helping a taxpayer understand why a lien was placed on his or her property.

   T                                      Other days I could be addressing questions or concerns a taxpayer may have about the pro-
                                cesses executed at the Clerk's Office. Sometimes you can even find me educating our young generation
                          about the responsibilities of our office during a career day. It’s important to me that my constituents are never
                    left in question about the County Clerk’s Office and its duties. I am always willing to communicate our mission to
                 the public.

             Time flies when you’re having fun. It seems like just yesterday that I began my first day on the job as your County Clerk,
            but it was actually almost three years ago! Working with such a great team has made coming to work not only pleasant
           but rewarding. I’m excited about the progress that we have made so far. During the past 30 months, your County
          Clerk’s Office has partnered with the University of Texas Pan American by welcoming individual graduate student
          internships as well as group project studies of the office. These Master of Public Administration students have had
          the opportunity to study and evaluate various County Clerk departments and have provided us with their obser-
          vations and constructive recommendations. Their input has been beneficial and helped us streamline several
           office procedures.

            Your County Clerk’s Office also remains committed to automating many of the services that we
             offer and we continue to provide the general public free Internet access to their official re-
               cords.

                     My door is always open to the public and our office continuously
                           welcomes all constituents seeking assistance.




Some employees at the Hidalgo          As pictured from left to right,           Were you able to retrieve a passport before the June 1 deadline?
County Clerk’s Office are finding      Aleida Ramirez, Sylvia Gallegos,          In participation with the District Clerk’s Office, the County Clerk’s Office
themselves much more adept at          Annette Muniz, Jennilee Garza             offered its services to the public every other Saturday through May 30,
the office since their life-saving     and Priscilla Garcia were certified       2009 as part of the Saturday Passport Series. The office processed 175
training.                              after completing a one-day                extra birth certificates as a result of the extended hours.
Five county clerk employees spent      training and passing a final exam.
April 22, 2009 under the sharp         Employees practiced CPR                   Once the new Passport Law took effect June 1, any individual entering
instruction of Hidalgo County’s        techniques on mannequins while            the United States at land or sea ports became required to present a
Safety Division. Safety Instructor     expanding their medical knowl-            passport or passport card. Your County Clerk understood the difficul-
Rene Parrao supplied employees         edge in order to properly deal with       ties in retrieving one as many of his constituents work during the office’s
with a hefty dose of medical train-    possible emergencies that could           regular business hours. Thus, Mr. Guajardo pushed forward an effort to
ing.                                   unfold at the workplace.                  keep the County Clerk’s Office open during the following Saturdays:
Employees were trained and             Employees were also faced with a          April 18, May 2, May 16, and May 30.
certified in proper CPR and use of     staged scenario meant to mimic a
an A.E.D. for adults and children.     real-life situation they could find       It is required that individuals obtain a copy of their birth certificate in
They were also trained in First Aid,   themselves in during a medical            order to qualify to receive a passport. Copies of birth certificates range
Bloodborne Pathogen, use of an         emergency.                                from $23.00 for the long form and $24.00 for the wallet size form.
Asthma Inhaler, and use of an Epi-     County Clerk employees highly             However, individuals must attain a long form birth certificate in order to
Auto Injector.                         benefited from their certification        retrieve a passport. If you still need a passport, stop by the County
                                       class and say they’re glad to have        Clerk’s Office to take the first step and receive a copy of your birth
                                       been educated on such a vitally           certificate.
                                       important subject.




                                                                                           The Hidalgo County Clerk’s Office is always available for tours.
                                                                                           In May, students in varying grade levels from La Joya, Edinburg,
                                                                                           and Lyford schools were taken through an educated tour of the
                                                                                           office. The County Clerk’s Office enjoys informing the public
                                                                                           about our services. If you are interested in bringing friends or
                                                                                           students for a tour, give us a call at 956-318-2100. We are
                                                                                           happy to make accommodations for you.
    Hidalgo County Clerk’s Office


                 A few ts
                                                       If you have questions, comments, or suggestions,
                                                         please contact the following individuals at their




                ommenur
                                                                                    respective extensions:




               C
                                                                                         Call 956-318-2100




                      o
                                                                  Annette C. Muniz, Chief Deputy: ext 6105



                 From mers
                                                                      Noe Lopez, Office Manager: ext 6193
                                                                  Evelia Morales, Courts Manager: ext 6131




                custo
                                                            Jason Rohr, Collections Supervisor: ext 6151
                                                                  Daniel Chavez, Internal Auditor: ext 6187
                                                                Armando Perez, Records Manager: ext 6107




                                                                    Our services :
                                                                  - Issue marriage licenses.
 Our office always welcomes constructive criticism and
                                                                  - Issue birth certificates and death certificates.
 strives to serve our constituents as best as we can. Please
                                                                  - Issue hunting and fishing licenses.
 feel free to fill out one of the Clerk’s Report Cards during
                                                                  - Record and preserve Commissioner’s Court minutes.
your next visit to the County Clerk’s Office. We thank indi-

 viduals who’ve left suggestions in the past. Thank you for         Also record and file the following for permanent
      assisting us as we try to better serve our community.         preservation:
                                                                  - Property Records, Subdivision Plats, Assume Name Certificates,

                                                                   DD-214s, various liens, Cattle Branding, and Beer, Wine and Liquor

                                                                   Licenses.

                                                                   Provide clerical assistance for County Courts at Law with
                                                                    the following case types:
                                                                  - Civil Cases - Lawsuits up to $750,000 dollars, Occupational
                                                                   licenses, and Condemnations.
                                                                  - Probate Cases - Probate of wills. Guardianships for minors and
                                                                   incapacitated individuals.
                                                                  - Criminal Cases - Misdemeanor cases.

                                                                  - Collections Department - Collect all fines and fees assessed by the

                                                                   court for defendants and coordinate payment plans for defendants

                                                                   indebted to the court.
                CClosner n t Edinburg, e k ’
                   o u Blvd. C Office
H i d a l g o N.Hidalgo CountyyClerk’s l TXr78540 s O f f i c e
            100
  Tel: 956-318-2100 * Fax: 956-318-2105 * www.hidalgocountyclerk.us

				
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