MOUNTAIN HOME — The Baxter County Collector's Office is temporarily offering what Collector Teresa Smith has dubbed "curbside service."
The Baxter Bulletin reports extensive renovations to the Collector's Office, located at 8 East 7th Street in downtown Mountain Home, has led to creation of two temporary offices. One office is on the sidewalk in front of the former Flies International Pub & Grill building, while the other is in the basement of the Baxter County Courthouse.
"We've had people ask what we're doing, if we were selling cookies," Smith said of the temporary sidewalk office, which opened June 13. "People seem to appreciate that we're out here trying to help."
Deputy collectors manning the sidewalk location can answer property tax-related questions, verify property tax payments for people trying to register their motor vehicles or refer them across the street to the other office in the courthouse's basement.
"We're not handling any money out here," Smith said. "If you need to make a payment, you'll have to go to the basement. About the best we can do here is have you write a check and drop it in the overnight box. But if you want to find out what you owe or just need to get your statement stamped, we can do that without sending you to the courthouse."
Smith said the plan was to retreat inside the Flies building in the event of rain. The building has electricity but does not have any overhead lighting.
"We will inch inside as it's needed," Smith said. "If things get bad and the wind really whips up, we might have to go inside and close the doors. We'd probably leave someone outside (under the building's awning) to direct traffic and help tell people we're inside."
The remodeling is expected to take six to eight weeks. Deputy collectors began working out of the courthouse basement on Monday, June 10, so workers could move the office's furniture and equipment to storage that week.
The Assessor's Office, which is located next door to the Collector's Office and shares an entryway with that office, is expected to remain open during the remodeling.
Plans call for one of the buildings' two public bathrooms, located off the building's shared entryway, to be removed and that space absorbed by the Collector's Office as additional lobby space. Both the Collector's Office, the Assessor's Office and the main entryway to the building will receive automatic doors compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Lobby space can become an issue for the office in October, when last year's property taxes are due. Late in the month, it is not unusual to see a line of people back up into the building's entryway or even out onto the sidewalk as they wait to pay their property taxes.
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