The Office of the County Clerk in Austin County functions as the official reporting body of the county court and commissioners court of Austin County. It is also serves as the the legitimate issuer and keeper of various public records and vital statistics relevant in the county.
Below are some of the various types of records handled in the OFFICE OF THE COUNTY CLERK AUSTIN COUNTY :
• County court and county court at law case records (civil cases, probate cases, guardianship proceedings, misdemeanor criminal cases, lis pendens matters)
• Commissioners court minutes
• Official records of deeds and instruments
• Marriage licenses and records
• Certificates and records of births and deaths
• Assumed name (DBA) / abandonment records
• Marks and brands
• Plats and replats
• Real property records
• Military discharge records
• Election records
All cases filed with the Austin County Court are filed through the County Clerk, except for the juvenile cases which are under the District Clerk. The county court has terms on the first Mondays of March, June, September, and December. Below are the current dockets:
Ancillary dates: 9:00 AM Criminal, 9:00 AM Civil
Criminal and civil pre-trial dates: 9:00 AM
Criminal trial dates: 9:00 AM
Civil trial dates: 9:00 AM
As provided by the Texas Constitution, a county clerk must be elected by qualified county voters, and must serve for four years as clerk for the county and commissioners courts, with duties as prescribed by the Legislature. A sudden vacancy of the county clerk seat shall be filled by the commissioners court until next general election. In cases where a county clerk may be involved in a county court action, the county judge may appoint a clerk pro tempre, who would take oath in faithfully and impartially performing the duties of the county clerk.
Upon election or appointment of a county clerk, he/she shall be able to complete 20 hours of instruction on duty performance, and 20 hours of continuing education courses. He/she should also be able to complete at least one hour of continuing education courses on registry funds, and at least one hour of the same on fraudulent court documents.
Below are some of the extensive powers, duties and responsibilities of the county clerk:
• Duties pertaining to the county and commissioners courts (as mentioned in the above overview of the county clerk office, as well as keeping and certifying commissioners court minutes, taking affidavits and repositions, appointing of deputies, making bonds and taking oaths of office, maintaining office at auxiliary courthouses and facilities while keeping office at county seat, participating in juror selection, making transcripts of proceedings to be transmitted to district clerks due to transfers of cases, etc.)
• Recording duties (issuing and maintaining of official records of various public matters such as certificates, notices, statements, licenses, registries, affidavits, petitions, receipts, maps, and other official documents as specified in the Local Government Code, Family Code, Occupations Code, Transportation Code, Agriculture Code, Property Code, Business Organizations Code, Business and Commerce Code, Health and Safety Code, Natural Resources Code, Tax Code, Water Code, etc.)
• Financial responsibilities (collection of various fees related to court expenses and documents and records that are filed and requested, making written statements of jury fees and fines received, depositing the fines and jury fees to the county treasury, filing of budget proposals and amendments, assisting the county judge in budget preparation, making monthly trust fund reports for auditors, keeping a finance ledger for commissioners courts on each county officer account, accounting of justice of peace fines, coordinating with auditors, etc.)
• Duties pertaining to elections (holding election to authorize creation of civil service commissions, notifying the secretary of state on elected county and precinct officers, contracting with political parties and subdivisions for holding elections, serving as chairman of election board, conducting of training programs for election officers, tabulating unofficial returns, receiving election returns from precincts, certifying elected precinct chairmen, filing financial statements for candidates, etc.)
The current Austin County Clerk is Carrie Gregor. She is currently on her fifth term, being first elected in 1995. Since 2001, her office has received Five Star Local Registrar Awards five times (2001, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2011) from the Vital Statistics Unit of the Texas Department of State Health, in recognition of its excellence and timeliness in performing its duties among about 500 local registrars within the State.
Cases regarding credit card suits and breach of contract are types of civil cases. Through the office of the county clerk, a Texas civil case information sheet is submitted. This includes the following:
1) Contact information
a) Information regarding the person completing the sheet (name, complete address, email address, contact numbers, State Bar number if the person is a lawyer, signature)
b)Names of parties in the case (plaintiff/s or petitioner/s, defendant/s or respondent/s, additional parties if applicable)
c) Person or entity for which the sheet is completed (lawyer, pro se or self-presented, Title IV-D agency, or others)
2) Case type (only one must be selected, in this case, Civil – Contract – Debt for credit card cases, and Civil – Contract – Contract for breach of contract)
3) Procedure or remedy (the action being sought in the case, and more than one may be selected)
The notified defendant would in turn fill out a form expressing dispute or admittance of the complaint, and the necessary mediation and court procedures would progress. However, it is not the duty of the county clerk to advise and inform regarding the process. Such cases are applicable in a county court and county court at law, for claims above $500 but not greater than $100,000. Any case smaller than $500 would be filed under Small Claims cases at the lower courts, and cases greater than $100,000 are filed with the district clerk at the district court.