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County votes for convenience

HEB to sell vehicle registration stickers; JeffCo to adopt I-Jury

BEAUMONT — The Jefferson County Commissioners’ Court took a step toward convenience Monday, unanimously passing two measures that promise to get residents out of the long lines at the Courthouse and remove the hassle from taking care of citizenly duties.

The commissioners passed both “time savers” without much fuss, with little to no discussion before County Judge Jeff Branick called for a final vote.

The commissioners approved an agreement allowing local HEB grocery stores to issue motor vehicle license registration stickers — an added option County Tax Assessor-Collector Allison Nathan Getz said will benefit citizens who take time out of their work day to make it to one of the three tax offices before the doors close at 4:30 p.m.

“It’s a great thing that will allow our residents to get their stickers after (tax office) hours — during the week and on Saturdays and Sundays,” Getz said Monday. “It’s all about convenience.”

Getz said the only difference between renewing a license registration sticker at a tax office and at one of the four HEB locations in Jefferson County — one on FM 365 in Port Arthur and three in Beaumont — is the HEB stores will not be able to look up a resident’s renewal.

“Residents will need to bring in the renewal notice they get in the mail, because the grocery stores can’t look up that information like we can,” she said.

Getz said residents will still have to come into one of the county’s tax offices — the Sub-Courthouse in Port Arthur, the Mid-County location near the Jack Brooks Regional Airport or the Jefferson County Courthouse in Beaumont — to renew their license plates.

The commissioners also approved the implementation of the I-Jury online impaneling system, transferring $8,472 in the District Clerk’s budget to buy virtual web servers and software for the program.

Last week Jill Wiebusch, Jefferson County District Clerk’s Office chief deputy, said the I-Jury system would allow residents to respond to their summons online, selecting their “most convenient dates” for jury duty from a three-month window.

The commissioners are filing the county’s I-Jury software license agreement as a joint effort with Travis County, whose residents have used the online system for the last decade.

Wiebusch said 95 percent of Travis County jurors respond to their summons online — eliminating the wasted work days citizens used to spend waiting in a courthouse to go through the impaneling process.

Wiebusch said the District Clerk’s Office is aiming for a summer 2016 start date for the new I-Jury system in Jefferson County.

Twitter: @crhenderson90