Each campaign season brings a slew of nice-sounding ideas on how to make government better.
Some suggestions turn out to be uninformed, others are determined to be impractical and still others are quickly forgotten after election day.
Change, as they say, is hard.
But every once in a while, a good idea pitched on the campaign trail becomes a reality.
Such is the case with the recent decision by Park County Treasurer Barb Poley — and now Clerk Colleen Renner — to open a kind of satellite office in Powell for a couple of days per month.
For years, contenders for clerk and treasurer suggested those offices should establish a presence in Powell, so local folks don’t have to make a special trip to Cody to renew their license plates, title their new vehicle, get a marriage license, etc.
But years came and went with no change — until this past winter. That’s when Poley announced she was setting up a makeshift office on the second floor of the Park County Annex.
“I feel like there’s a real need,” Poley explained in January, adding, “We get calls all the time [asking] why aren’t we in Powell?”
Since April, the satellite office has been open on the third Monday and Tuesday of each month — and Poley said there’s been a “really good response.” There’s been enough Powell business to keep the office busy over the two days.
Poley says there’s also been little cost beyond the gasoline and drive time for the two employees staffing the office.
The success was enough to convince Clerk Renner that it was worth sending an employee from her office on those third Mondays and Tuesdays, too.
“We’re going to give it a try and see what happens,” Renner said. The new arrangement — featuring one staffer from the clerk’s office and another from the treasurer’s office — started Monday and continues today (Tuesday), from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
We’re glad to see the clerk join this experiment and believe the end result will be greater convenience for local residents. If you’re someone who’s wanted the chance to do your county government business a little closer to home, make sure to take advantage of the office hours at the annex; if we Powell area residents don’t use it, we’ll likely lose it. That’s what happened many years ago with a previous attempt to open an office here.
For most people, an occasional trip to Cody isn’t a huge hassle — and these days, most transactions with the clerk’s and treasurer’s office can be conducted over the phone or online. But we believe this satellite office is important, as there’s nothing that can quite replace person-to-person interaction. (Plus, paying over the phone or online with a credit card brings added fees.)
In short, the satellite office at the annex is an inexpensive way for the county government to better serve the thousands of people who live in Powell and in the eastern part of Park County. It’s a perfect example of why we should constantly consider new ways to improve our government — and why citizens should hold elected officials to their campaign promises.
Making a change can take time and effort, but, for the right idea, it’s worth it.