CHATTOOGA COUNTY OPERATIONS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Chattooga County is working hard to ensure the health and safety of our employees that deliver critical services as well as the safety and welfare of our residents. With 1 confirmed COVID-19 case certain departments within Chattooga County will be limiting operations until further notice. All County facilities will operate under limited access to the public according to the Governor’s Emergency Health Order. County employees will still be in their offices. Please contact the specific office that you are needing to access to allow them to assist you in providing essential services. Specific information for the departments is listed below. With the fluid nature of this pandemic, operations can change at any time. Chattooga County will continue to update citizens through local media channels and social media on the Chattooga County, Georgia EMA/ 911 on Facebook. Please contact the Chattooga County Commissioner’s Office at 706-857-0700 for more information and all department contacts and phone numbers are listed on our County website www.chattoogacounty.org by clicking on the Government Tab. Our intent is to update this daily with any new information or changes for departments that may occur and post on the Chattooga County EMA/911 Facebook and the www.chattoogacounty.org website

1 confirmed case in Chattooga County per Georgia Department of Public Health. Please watch the Georgia Department of Public Health Website at https://dph.georgia.gov/georgia-department-public-health-covid-19-daily-status-reportfor COVID-19 official case counts released each day at 12:00 PM and 7:00 PM.

Chattooga County Commissioner’s Office- The Commissioner’s Office will operate under limited access to the public but will be accessible by contacting 706-857-0700 or 706 857-0701.

Superior Court— The Judicial Emergency Order will run through April 13. Extension possible.

Clerk of Court Office— The Chattooga County Clerk’s Office is open for ESSENTIAL matters. We will be at work and able to help you by phone or through online services. See information below.

Clerk’s Office – 706/857-0706 Pay your (County) traffic tickets – www.payyourtix.com Real Estate efiling & search – www.gsccca.org

Real Estate search – gasearch.kofile.us Civil efiling – www.peachcourt.com

Probate Court & Elections – Our office is now able to accept credit card payments over the phone for the next 2 weeks. Marriage licenses may be applied for on georgiaprobaterecords.com. Call us at 706-857-0709 once completed and we can print the application and email it to you for signatures. You need to email the app back along with a copy of both drivers’ licenses. If you have been married before, email us a copy of your final divorce decree or death certificate. The cost is $66, or you may purchase a license for $26 with 6 hours of certified counseling with a notarized certificate.

All vital records may be ordered by email or snail mail. Send a copy of your photo ID. If by snail mail, you will need to send a check or money order for $25. We can accept credit/debit card payments over the phone.

New gun permits cannot be applied for during this shutdown. If you already have a license and your expiration date falls within this time frame, we will extend your expiration date with no penalty. Renewals are $30.

The Presidential Preference Primary will be held on the same General Primary date of May 19.

Chattooga County EMA/911- The office will be closed to the public but citizens can access the non emergency number at 706-857-3400 or in an emergency call 911. Also please follow the Chattooga County EMA/911 Facebook Page for the most updated information.

Chattooga County Health Department- Currently, the Chattooga County Health Department is providing essential services only, such as for Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. We are trying to provide WIC via telephone with an online nutrition component. This can change quickly daily based on our role. Please call our office for details in place of coming into the clinic. 706-857-3471

Chattooga County Extension Service (4-H) – The Chattooga County Extension Service will be closed to public access but clients can call or email the office for assistance at 706-857-0744 or uge1055@uga.edu All agricultural services, tests will still be processed, along with future programming. Residents can stay updated on resources through our webpage www.ugaextension.org/chattooga or utilizing the Chattooga County Extension Facebook page.

In an effort to encourage additional vegetable gardens this year to help take pressure off the food supply chain the Extension Service will be adding online resources to help citizens plant gardens. Items such as quantity of plants, when to plant and how to plant will be explained through materials and on line videos. Chattooga County Extension is offering free seeds and starter trays for all citizens that can be used to start a home garden. As we practice social distancing this is a great family project a family can begin and reap a harvest later. (We will replenish the supplies daily) We can also provide assistance with education: How to plant and provide planting guide to all citizens. Please follow our Facebook and Instagram more information and videos. Please contact the Extension Office for additional information.

Over 100 seed starter trays have been given out and over 500 seed packets.

District Attorney’s Office— To be updated

Juvenile Court— To be updated

State Court – ( Judge John Dennis) I have cancelled the calendared State Court arraignments and bench trials for April. They will be continued, at least tentatively, until May. I hope by the end of the month or by mid- April, we will be in a better position to proceed. Inasmuch as I am in the Courthouse Annex and the Courthouse is usually shoulder to shoulder, I think it a better course to continue social distancing is simply not possible in that venue. I cannot simultaneously have an open court and practice social distancing.

I will continue to address probation matters as the situation warrants.

Sheriff’s Office/Jail— Deputies respond to and meet with many citizens throughout their shift and often times within the citizens home. Sheriff’s Office staff have been asked to avoid shaking hands, stand about 6 feet away from citizens that they are meeting or talking with. Also, if you request a deputy for a report or other reason please step outside, if feasible, and meet with them. Deputies have been authorized to handle certain reports via telephone. These precautionary measures will not hinder or damper a criminal investigation.

Jail: Since we have a large population of individuals housed in a confined space, we will be taking precautionary measures at the jail as well. The one that will most likely affect family of incarcerated persons are revised visitation schedules. Also, services where outside individuals are allowed to meet with inmates i.e. church services and drug counseling services are suspended for now.

Registrar’s Office- Our office is closed to the public at this time. Absentee By Mail ballots are a great way for voters to cast a ballot from the privacy of their homes.

Absentee By Mail Information:

* Absentee By Mail Applications are being sent to all active registered voters. Inactive voters are still eligible to request an absentee ballot but will not automatically receive a request from the State.

* All requests must include a signature of the person making the request. You may make a request on behalf of a family member who is disabled or temporarily living outside of the county. All other requests must be made by the voter.

* Electronic signatures are not accepted.

* Party selection is required because this is a primary. Voters may choose between Democratic, Republican, or Non-Partisan. (Non-Partisan ballots do not contain Democratic or Republican races/questions.)

* For an application for an absentee ballot, visit https://sos.ga.gov/admin/files/Absentee_Ballot_Application_2018.pdf

* Absentee ballot applications may be accepted by mail, email, or fax.

* Absentee By Mail Ballots must be received by May 19, 2020 and are accepted through the mail. (After our office opens to the public, ballots may be hand delivered as well.)

Registration/Record Update Information: * To find an application to register to vote, go to registertovote.sos.ga.gov

* Registration applications (or an application updating information for an already registered voter) are accepted by mail. They are not accepted by fax or email. You may also submit a registration application online if you have a Georgia Driver’s License or State Issued ID card (ID only card issued by the Department of Driver Services), your name has not changed since your ID was issued, and you give permission to the Department of Driver Services to share your signature with our office.

*The registration deadline for the May 19, 2020 Primary is April 20, 2020.

Advance Voting Information:

* Advance Voting is scheduled to begin April 27, 2020 for the General Primary.

* During this time, individuals who have not already cast a ballot in the Presidential Preference Primary who select either a Democratic or a Republican ballot will also receive the Presidential Preference Primary on the ballot. Individuals who already cast a ballot in the Presidential Preference Primary will only receive a ballot for the General Primary.

We will have one member of staff available in the office from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm on weekdays. You may contact us by phone at (706) 857 – 0739, email us at chattoogaregistrar@gmail.com, or fax us at 706-857-0739.

Public Works—Chattooga County Public Works will continue to operate with appropriate distancing procedures in place.

Chattooga County Sanitation and Remote Dump Sites— The Transfer Station will remain open and the Remote Dump sites will remain open. Remote Site attendants have been directed to keep a safe distance and not assist with dumping trash or recycling material. Citizens will need to be able to dispose of their refuse and recyclable items without the assistance of the attendants.

Tax Assessors’ Office—Starting Monday, March 16, 2020, the Chattooga County Tax Assessors’ office, located at the Chattooga County Courthouse Annex, will be closed to public access. Citizens can visit https://www.qpublic.net/chattooga to determine a method of application and/or delivery for Real Property Returns, Personal Property Returns, Homestead Exemption Applications, etc., which will still be accepted. The property appraisal staff will continue to visit properties during this time but will refrain from as much face-to-face interaction as possible.

The Tax Assessor’s Office is waiting on guidance from the Department of Revenue on extensions for certain filing deadlines. Once this notification is made it will be released and possible extensions put in place.

Tax Commissioner’s Office—The Chattooga County Tax Commissioner’s office, including the tag and property tax offices, will be closed to public access. We strongly encourage all tag renewals and property tax payments to be made through our website at www.chattoogatax.com . To help our customers, beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 we will waive late penalties on payments and the credit card transaction fee on online payment will be waived for property taxes. Mobile Home property taxes that are due April1 will be extended to April 15th and Fi Fas will not be filed until April 15.

Magistrate Court—The Magistrate Court will work with the Superior Court and the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office to ensure the safety of all citizens who use Magistrate Court and our employees. We realize this may delay the scheduling of cases beyond the normal times and hope that the citizens understand the reason why. We continue to monitor the situation and appreciate the understanding of our customers. Citizens are urged to call our office if they have any questions or concerns.

Chattooga County Animal Control– We currently are asking all citizens who wish to surrender a pet to call and make an appointment. We will take all the information needed over the phone for the surrender and email a surrender form to be signed and sent back. When you arrive, we ask that you please stay in the vehicle and call the shelter at 706-857-0679. We will come out to the vehicle to retrieve the animal and complete the process.

Chattooga County Water Department—The Chattooga County Water Department will continue to offer current level of services as long as staffing is available to support. They request that customers attempt to make payments via mail, online, or by telephone instead of in-person, if possible. Any customers wishing to start a new service should make the initial request via telephone at 706-734-2827 as opposed to in-person. In some instances, the transaction may be completed without an in-person visit. At any rate, the initial phone can provide an opportunity to share any information necessary to minimize the amount of time required in the office. You can pay your bill online at www.chattoogawater.org.

Chattooga County Senior Center- The Chattooga County Senior Center will be closed for activities for the next two weeks. Home meal delivery will continue. Currently all Senior Citizens that normally attend the Senior are being delivered a meal now. Extra meals have been ordered and we currently are able to fill all requested assistance needs.

Chattooga County Chamber of Commerce- The Chattooga County Chamber of Commerce office is closed, but Executive Director Cindy Rivers is available by phone (706.857.4033) or email (chamber@chattoogacounty.org). All Chamber events have been suspended until further notice. Updates to our website and Facebook page are kept current, and a new Facebook group has been created: Together4Chattooga in order to offer an environment for businesses to post their updates and connect with consumers.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) now offers disaster assistance in the form of low-interest loans to businesses, renters, and homeowners located in Chattooga County affected by coronavirus. Access more details on how to apply at https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19 or call our office for help.

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is temporarily suspending in-person requirements for services. Claims may be filed through their website: dol.georgia.gov or call our office for help. Facebook is launching a $100 million grant program for small businesses. They’ve also created a Business Hub with tips on how businesses can survive the coronavirus outbreak.

Chattooga County Agricultural Center- The Ag Center will be closed for two weeks

Chattooga County Civic Center- The Civic Center will be closed for two weeks.

Chattooga County EOA Office- Closed to the public until further notice. If you are in need of assistance please call the Jasper Office at 706-692-5644. Please leave your name, number and need and they will get back to you. We ask for patience and understanding at this time.

Chattooga County Library- (Trion and Summerville Locations) – The library will be closed for the next two weeks.

Chattooga County Transit- We will be transporting Dialysis patients to and from the dialysis center until further notice.

For more information, please contact the Chattooga County Commissioner’s Office at 706-857-0700 or e-mail at chattcom@windstream.net or jwincom@windstream.net