Drive-thru digs in Elbert County

Colorado Secretary Wayne Williams, center, with various Elbert County officials, including Clerk Dallas Schroeder to his right, pose in front of the new county building sign after a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday in Kiowa. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday for the new Elbert County Clerk and Recorder’s office, which features the first drive-up Motor Vehicle Department operation in the state.

That’s what happens when you move into a former bank building.

“Because it used to be a bank, it’s set up for customer service,” Elbert County Clerk staffer Sheryl Borden said.

The clerk and the treasurer’s office opened Tuesday for service. They used to operate out of the county administration building just down the road.  Gone are the days of cramped motor vehicle counters and “commissioners looking over our shoulders,” joked Dallas Schroeder, Elbert county clerk and recorder.

“It is going to be a good service, it’s something that’s going to benefit not just the employees but it’s going to benefit the citizens as well,” Schroeder said. “We have more space, we have more motor vehicle counters, its just going to be a great service that we can offer.”

Tony Anderson, with the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, and Tasha Gomez, with the Elbert County clerk and recorder’s office in the clerk’s new digs. To their right is the drive-up window. (SOS photo)

Schroeder, Williams, county commissioners, state Department of Revenue employees and others participated in the ribbon-cutting, which attracted a crowd. Williams talked about the benefit for elections.

“You’ve got the ability for folks to be able to come in, cast their ballot, register to vote, participate in the process and it is exciting to see the facility here and all its going to offer Elbert county voters as well as motor vehicle,” he said.

Just before the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Samuel Elbert building, visitors were warned about touching door jams and other objects that had just received a paint touch up just minutes before. The building is named after Samuel Hitt Elbert, who served as governor of the Colorado territory in the 1870s and later went on to serve as a Colorado Supreme Court justice. Elbert County, Mount Elbert, and the town of Elbert are all named after him.

The bank-turned-county office features a fireplace centered in the lobby, which prompted a zinger from the secretary of state.

Elbert County Clerk and Recorder Dallas Schroeder is flanked his wife, Rebecca, left, and Rhonda Braun, elections director. (SOS photo)

“Hey Dallas,” he said, “is it true that on election night CNN will be here with the fireplace in the background?”

“They’re always invited,” Schroeder replied.

At that, county commissioner Chris Richardson mumbled, “We were hoping for Fox News,” which caused an eruption of laughter. Elbert County is the one of the — if not the — most Republican performing counties in the state.

Meanwhile, neighboring El Paso County on Friday will open the first 24-hour Motor Vehicle kiosk in the state, allowing patrons to handle their registration business around the clock. It will be located at the Union Town Center branch in northern Colorado Springs.

Williams praised both Elbert and El Paso counties, saying the innovation is a game-changer.

“These are levels of customer service you normally don’t get from government,” he said.