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County clerk's office is staying busy

Robert Houk • Apr 22, 2020 at 10:00 AM

County Clerk Kathy Storey said Tuesday it’s been a busy April for her staff even as her offices in the Washington County Courthouse and in Johnson City have been closed to the public.

Vehicle tag renewals, title registrations and other essential business continues online and by mail during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The only thing her clerks have seen decline during the month that the courthouse has been closed for COVID-19 is the number of requests for marriage licenses.

“The public has been quite cooperative,” Storey said. “It’s gone a lot smoother than we anticipated.”

The county clerk said her office issued nearly 300 vehicle renewals in one day that were requested online. This comes as Gov. Bill Lee has extended the expiration date on tags that expire in March, April and May to June 15.

Storey said area car dealers are also keeping her staff busy with transactions for new vehicle registrations. She said car dealers are dropping off registration forms that are processed to be picked up later. 

“It’s been amazing,” Storey said. “We handled 50 registrations from one car dealer. The incentives they are offering to buy have paid off.”

She said the number of marriage licenses issued by her office has declined in the past 30 days. The governor has also suspended the expiration date of marriage licenses issued after March 12. That means those delaying their weddings because of COVID-19 do not have to pay for a new license.

“Many people have postponed their weddings to see what happens with the coronavirus,” Storey said.

Currently, county offices are operating in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for dealing with the pandemic. As such, Storey said no more than four employees are working at a time in her offices.

Storey said her office intends to carry on with certain social distancing restrictions when Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy does re-open courthouse offices.

“We ask that the public be patient when we do re-open,” she said.

Washington County Register of Deeds Teresa Bowman also said Tuesday things are also “going really well” at her office in the historic courthouse. She said documents are being recorded online and by package delivery.

Bowman said customers are also bringing documents to the courthouse, where they are being retrieved by a security guard and recorded by her office.

“We’ve had no complaints,” she said. “People are really staying home. They know how scary this is.”

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