• December 27, 2014

Johnson challenges Coston for Bell County clerk

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Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014 4:30 am

BELTON — When most voters go to the polls for the March 4 primary, county clerk isn’t a race many are passionate about.

“Not a lot of people realize that the county clerk handles 12 different types of records,” said Shelley Coston, who is seeking re-election as Bell County’s county clerk.

Coston, 47, from Little River-Academy, has lived in Bell County for 38 years and has been the county clerk since 2008.

She is being challenged by political newcomer Velva Johnson.

Coston said the biggest issue facing the county clerk’s office is continuing the adjustment to e-filing, which the Legislature mandated be in place by July.

In addition to being the place where property deeds are filed, the county clerk’s office serves as one of the archivists for Bell County, a role Coston said she takes seriously. She and her staff are digitizing many of the county’s old records.

“We completed scanning and will make available records going back 25 years,” Coston said. “We went down to Austin and got all the election results going back to when Bell County became sovereign in 1831. We keep them in our library area and they are available to the public.”

She said her goal is to continue serving the public by making as many records available as possible.

Johnson, 52, from Belton, has lived in Bell County for 52 years and works as a legal assistant to Dennis Holle.

Johnson also sees e-filing as the biggest challenge facing the county clerk’s office. She said she considers her people skills her biggest asset. “When people come into your office and you steer them in the right direction, it makes you feel like you know your purpose,” Johnson said.

“Providing a tremendous service” to the people who come to the clerk’s office is her No. 1 priority, she said.

Although cost savings in the county clerk’s office hasn’t been a hot-button issue for voters, Johnson said she knows the office works with taxpayer dollars, she said.

“If you can save the county money by changing a procedure to something cheaper that delivers the same level of service then I’d do it,” Johnson said.

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