County offices reduce public hours beginning Monday

Beginning July 20, the offices of the county Assessor, Auditor and Treasurer will be open for counter service and phone service to the public from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

That is a change from the 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. hours previously required by county ordinance.

The Health and Community Services and Community Development and Planning departments will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and by appointment. At this point, court-related services have not announced plans to change hours.

The hour changes were made official Tuesday after the County Council voted to give County Administrator Pete Rose the authority to modify the hours county agencies are open to the public for periods of up to three months.

Rose told the council that the change is necessary in light of workforce cutbacks, to give county workers some uninterrupted office time to keep up with their workload.

Councilman Bob Myhr, Lopez/Shaw, said he would prefer county departments find a way not to reduce public hours. “Our county offices are serving the public,” he said. “And our offices should be open as much as possible even in tight budgetary times.”

Rose responded, “(the county has) reduced staff in virtually every department — significant staff reductions in CDPD. They’re having a very difficult time in the Assessor’s Office, they’re having a difficult time getting the recording done in the Auditor’s Office and the whole essence of the question is getting some quiet time during the day to actually process the widgets that are coming down the assembly line. Right now, your departments are clamoring for relief.”

After deliberation, the council voted unanimously to give Rose the authority to change public hours, restricting that authority to only three months per year. At then end of the three-month period, the old schedule will go back into effect unless the council extends the schedule or adopts a new one.

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