As of Monday, all Franklin County buildings are closed to the public, but many offices are still providing services to residents.
In most cases, elected officials and department heads are recommending telephone and online transactions and if physical documents need to be passed between parties, a drop box is in place on the Linden Street side of the county government building in Union.
County Collector Doug Trentmann says his office will use the drop box, mail and online resources to process delinquent tax payments.
“We will not be doing anything curbside,” Trentmann said. “That would be the same as having the building open to the public.”
Trentmann added, historically, March is the fourth busiest month for the collector’s office with many people needing to pay delinquent taxes before they can apply for vehicle licenses.
He also encouraged residents not to put cash payments in the drop box outside the building.
“We don’t want to be handling cash at all,” Trentmann said. “We don’t want it in the drop box. If you have cash, try to get a money order instead.”
He added tax payments may be even more complicated for those who need to declare property with the assessor’s office before they can pay.
Assessor Tom Copeland says his office will be following many of the same protocols, using the telephone and mail, but there are some documents they will have to get signatures on.
“All I can say is sorry,” Copeland said. “We are going to help in any way we can.”
He added March is generally a very busy month for the assessor’s office with residents preparing boats, recreational vehicles and trailers for the spring and summer seasons and needing to renew licenses.
County Clerk Tim Baker says his staff is already working in alternating shifts and with the closure of county buildings, they will still keep a skeleton staff in place each day and offer curbside services for anyone who wants to register, file for office, or vote absentee until May 20.
“It is our mission to ensure the integrity of the Franklin County elections and the safety of all voters and election judges,” Baker said. “We are working on all options to ensure that every eligible voter is able to cast a ballot.”
Recorder of Deeds
With a virus threatening humanity, you wouldn’t think this was the best time to be getting married, but surprisingly four marriage licenses were applied for last Friday.
Recorder of Deeds Jennifer Metcalf says that number isn’t too far off the business-as-usual average.
With the closure of county buildings for 14 days, marriage license requests will be processed by appointment only and both parties will need to appear and present identification.
Application fees can be paid by exact cash or by credit card.
Land documents will only be accepted for filing electronically.
Even with county buildings closed, construction projects are still in full swing and the county building department is doing its best to accommodate them.
Office manager Susan Scott said inspections for footings, foundations and septic will be given priority.
“Any others will be put on a list and inspections will be done as staff is available,” Scott said. “There will be no inspections done for occupied structures.”
Scott added those needing those type of inspections should call the office and the date will be written down for an expiration extension.
A drop box will also be used and calls and emails are encouraged.
Planning and Zoning
The county planning and zoning department will accept applications and supporting documentation by email. It will accept plats, surveys and supporting documentation for review by email as well.
Once the plat has been emailed, during this time it will not require an electronic copy of the plat on a CD.
Though planning and zoning prefers mail to avoid face-to-face interactions, it will be offering curb-side pickup for preapproved, signed plats only at the rear/employee entrance of the Government Center each Friday – March 27 and April 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents may be required to answer a series of questions when they call to schedule the appointment, before the department agrees to curb-side pickup.
The county health department is providing telephonic and window services for Women Infants Children (WIC) and vital records. Director Angie Hittson says the WIC department has reached out to all participants with information via mass texting/calls.
All information regarding county offices can be found at the Franklin County website, www.franklinmo.org.