Courthouse, other county facilities close to the public

But services remain available

Posted 3/20/20

The Park County government closed nearly all of its facilities to the public, effective Friday morning. That includes the Park County Annex and fairgrounds in Powell and the courthouse and Park …

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Courthouse, other county facilities close to the public

But services remain available

Posted

The Park County government closed nearly all of its facilities to the public, effective Friday morning. That includes the Park County Annex and fairgrounds in Powell and the courthouse and Park County Complex in Cody.

However, county employees will continue to work and serve the public by phone or email, some from home and some from their offices. For example, Park County Clerk Colleen Renner said her office will be able to process some limited title work by appointment.

Members of the public can also continue to take their trash to the county landfills in Powell, Cody and Clark.

“I’m planning on keeping everything open as long as we can,” said Park County Landfill Manager Tim Waddell, though he’s adding some precautions. That will include asking folks to stay in their vehicles and discouraging cash transactions. By generally billing customers instead of taking payments at the gate, Waddell said the county could lose out on some small transactions, but “that’s a small price to pay at this point.”

Park County commissioners made the decision to enact a “hard closure” of the county’s facilities during a special Thursday morning meeting — their third in as many days to include discussions about how to respond to the new coronavirus pandemic.

The closures are set to last through at least April 7. At that time, commissioners plan to re-evaluate them and the entire coronavirus situation during a previously scheduled meeting.

“The world’s not coming to an end in two weeks,” said Commission Chairman Joe Tilden.

While the courthouse will be locked, people will still be allowed to enter for necessary business in district and circuit courts; that is not expected to generate much foot traffic, however, as hearings are being held by phone or video conferencing when possible.

County commissioners had initially decided Wednesday to keep the courthouse open, while the cities of Powell and Cody closed their facilities to the public. However, several departments inside the county courthouse — including the clerk’s, treasurer’s, clerk of district court’s and planning and zoning offices — had locked their doors on Wednesday to limit close interactions.

“We came to a consensus that our best line of defense is not having person-on-person contact at all,” explained Clerk of District Court Patra Lindenthal.

Her office now expects to be conducting all its business by email, fax and traditional mail.

“We cannot close,” Lindenthal said, adding that, “We’ll just keep using Clorox.”

Hers was among many departments taking extra precautions.

For instance, by Monday, Park County Sheriff Scott Steward had already temporarily halted visitation at the detention center, required money items for inmates to be sent through the mail instead of dropped off in person and stopped offering fingerprinting and conceal carry permit applications, among other changes aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. Deputies remain on duty.

Meanwhile, the county’s IT department has been donning gloves when they’re called to work on other staffers’ computers.

County Chief Information Officer Mike Conners said his staff was looking forward to playing some catch-up during what looks to be a quieter period of time.

“They’re eager to do stuff to get some things done,” Conners said.

The situation could change rapidly: Commissioners said they will call a special meeting if and when a courthouse employee tests positive for the disease. They also wondered if county staffers could sub in at other departments if staffers in one office become ill.

“It’s all hands on deck,” said Commissioner Jake Fulkerson.

Added Commissioner Lee Livingston, “We’re in this together; let’s get stuff done.”

To get in touch with county offices, call the numbers below:
Park County Clerk — 307-527-8600
Park County Elections — 307-527-8620
Park County Treasurer — 307-527-8630
Park County Assessor — 307-527-8650
Park County Commissioners — 307-527-8510
Park County Planning & Zoning — 307-527-8540, email: planning@parkcounty.us
Park County Public Works and Road & Bridge — 307-527-8520
Park County Fair Office — 307-754-8855
Park County Public Health — 307-527-8570, Powell Annex 307-754-8870
Park County District Court — 307-527-8670
Park County Circuit Court — 307-527-8590
Park County Attorney — 307-527-8660 Powell Annex 307-754-8860
UW Extension — 307-527-8560 or 307-754-8836
Basin Authority — 307-527-8850 Powell 307-754-8840

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