The Hall County Government Center is fully reopening to the public beginning Monday, June 22 for the first time since the building’s operations were altered in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As the doors of the government center open to the public again, we will still continue to follow social distancing guidelines and other best practices as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and the White House," said Hall County Administrator Jock Connell.
Connell said additional health precautions will continue, including the use of glass storefronts in areas frequented by the public, staggered work shifts, the use of face masks by front-line employees and limiting the number of people in places like elevators and lobbies.
Hall County Government has been slowly reopening its facilities using a phased-in approach, which began in mid-May. County officials first opened the Hall County Government Center for appointments only and then opened other County facilities, with limited hours and modified services in some cases, in order to protect both Hall County staff and the citizens they serve.
"Over the past several weeks, staff has had an opportunity to become familiar with how to best serve the public given the new health and safety guidelines in place," said Connell.
Members of the public needing to conduct business in the Tax Commissioner’s Office are encouraged to explore ways to conduct business virtually.
"We know some citizens have been waiting a long time for our office to reopen, and we are happy to serve them in-person once again," Hall County Tax Commissioner Darla Eden said. "However, there are a number of ways the public can conduct County business without ever stepping foot into our office."
Those virtual options include the use of the tag renewal kiosk at the Kroger Marketplace on Jesse Jewell Parkway. The tax commissioner’s website also outlines ways to renew motor vehicle registrations or pay taxes online, via email, over the phone (770-531-6950), via mail or utilizing the outdoor drop box, located outside the Hall County Government Center.
"We are also encouraging citizens who need to complete title work to go to hallcountytax.org first and make sure they have all of the items they need in order to complete that transaction," said Eden.
A Tax Commissioner’s information desk will be located outside of the Hall County Government Center to ensure citizens have all of the paperwork needed in order to complete their title work. The desk will also be used to direct citizens to alternative options, such as the drop box, in order to complete their transaction.
"Due to the large volume of people our office deals with every day, and especially in light of the backlog of work that we have accumulated over the past few months, we are warning the public to be patient with us as we do anticipate some long lines in front of our office," said Eden.
Connell also urged the public to have patience.
"In order to ensure the safety and health of the public and our employees, visitors at the government center may experience increased wait times due to the additional safeguards and practices being followed," he said.
In order to avoid coming in to the building and to decrease wait times, citizens are encouraged to conduct their County business online if at all possible, utilizing Hall County’s website, www.hallcounty.org. Online motor vehicle services, the payment of insurance fines, and more are all available via the "Online Payments" button on the website. That’s also where citizens can pay their property tax, renew their business license, and more.
The homepage of the website also includes a "Departments" heading where citizens can find links to individual County departments’ contact information in order to contact a department specifically and determine whether or not their Hall County business can be conducted without an in-person visit.
"The Hall County website has also become an efficient tool for streaming our Board of Commissioners meetings live," Connell said. "While public comment will only be received in person beginning with the June 22 work session, we will continue to stream our meetings on the homepage of the website, so that anyone unable to attend the meeting will be able to watch it in real time."
Although formal public comment will be limited to those attending meetings in person, citizens are welcome to submit a comment via the website on any item appearing on an upcoming meeting agenda. That comment will be forwarded to the Board of Commissioners for their review.
Finally, a number of proactive steps Hall County has taken to date in regards to the coronavirus pandemic, along with a number of other helpful resources on this issue, can be found at ready.hallcounty.org.