Aiken County Government Offices back open; access restricted and carefully controlled

CSRA News

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — Business, as usual, is a little different at the Aiken County Government Center. Offices are back open but access is carefully restricted and controlled. Code enforcement officers are monitoring the number of people inside. The public is asked to access the building through the rear only.

“We debated whether to open next Monday as opposed to this past Monday and had it not been the last Monday of last week of the month, we probably would have waited another week,” Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.

It’s a pretty cool setup, too. Officials will check to see how many people an agency or department has. If there is a number of people waiting, patrons are asked to wait in the corridor before stepping inside. Departments like the treasurer’s office are seeing a number of changes to help with social distancing guidelines.”We had an only set of where people just cue up into a line. We set up three separate lines at each of those windows at the assessor’s office, tax collector’s office treasurer’s office, and the auditor’s office that kept people six feet apart. We have signs to keep them back six feet from each other as well,” Killian shared.

Those changes, we’re told, didn’t take long to implement. “So we had it done probably a couple of days. We had the planes figured out. Now we’re modifying as we go. We learn things as we see things happen that has to be done differently. So so far everything’s worked out really well,” Killian said.

Officials want you to know there are a number of ways for you to conduct business with the county without even setting foot on the government complex. Online, telephone calls, and drop-boxes, and drive-thru window services are the options available. “A lot of folks don’t like paying things online. A lot of people are still dealing in cash, so that’s the one they like to do things. So we understood that and we wanted to make it as easy for them as possible, but at the same time, protecting them and employees from what we’re dealing with right now,” Killian added.

A number of other changes include:

  • The Register of Mesne Conveyance office will allot blocks of time in two-hour increments to researchers that need access to the facility.
  • The Treasurer’s Office will accept cash and credit card payments at the drive-thru window. Checks should be placed in the drop box on the drive-thru island or mailed to Aiken County Treasurer, P.O. Box 636, Aiken, SC 29802. Credit card payments can be handled online (www.aikencountysc.gov/Tegov2) or over the phone by calling 1-833-640-8732. For all other questions for the Treasurer’s Office, please call 803-642-2092. Vehicle registration stickers, receipts or other documentation will be mailed as soon as it is processed. Current vehicle registrations are valid through the end of June.
  • Delinquent tax payments can be made utilizing one of the following methods:
    • U.S. Mail: Aiken County Tax Collector, P.O. Box 873, Aiken, SC 29802
      Online at www.aikencountysc.gov/Tegov2
      Phone: 803-642-2081
      Drop Box located at the rear entrance to the Government Center
      Inquiries for the Delinquent Tax Collector can be sent via email delinquenttc@aikencountysc.gov or by phone at 803-642-2081.
      Landfill and Emergency Medical Services payments can be made by U.S. Mail at Aiken County Finance, Collections Division, 1930 University Parkway, Suite 3200, Aiken, SC 29801 or by phone using a credit card. The number to dial is 803-642-2067. There is also a drop box located at the rear entrance to the Government Center where non-cash payments can be placed. If there is a need to enter the building or if there are inquiries about your bill, please dial 803-642-2067 before visiting the Government Center.
  • The Aiken County Veteran’s Affairs Office will operate by appointment only. No walk-in traffic will be allowed. Veterans seeking service should dial 803-642-1545 to schedule an appointment. If no answer, please leave a message and someone will get back with you to schedule a visit. The VA Office also has checklists located at the entrance to the office or they can be mailed, emailed or faxed to anyone requesting. These checklists are designed to make your visit go quicker and allow the staff to assist you better.
  • The Aiken County Courthouse is also open, but for very limited purposes. Citizens should call the office or department they need to do business with prior to coming to the Courthouse.
  • The Aiken County Animal Shelter remains closed to the public, but anyone interested in adopting or fostering a pet may contact the Shelter for an appointment. The number to call is 803-642-1537 to schedule a visit. Code Enforcement staff is still available to respond to animal calls and complaints.
  • All County parks and recreation programs remain closed with the exception of walking tracks and trails. Citizens utilizing the walking facilities should maintain an appropriate distance from others and not exercise in large groups.
  • Magistrates’ Offices are open, but anyone needing to conduct business should call ahead or follow the instructions posted on the door of the office they need to visit.
  • Aiken County Council meetings, as well as other Boards and Commission meetings, will be conducted via a virtual platform. Only those with a particular interest in an agenda item will be admitted for meetings of these bodies. There will be methods provided for citizens to provide input on agenda items of each meeting held.

If you must enter a building, you’re encouraged to wear a proper face mask. Anyone exhibiting flu or severe cold-like symptoms will be denied access. Only one member of a family or group will be allowed to enter at a time.

Also, the County has taken extra steps to clean and sanitize frequently touched items like door handles and countertops.

These practices are expected to continue as long as we’re dealing with the pandemic.

“I think we’ll continue this as long as the governor has everything on a social distance order and a shutdown, but for the most part you could stay home and conduct your business online. That’s what you want to absolutely do focus on staying at home and call us. We’ll try to take care of you over the phone line,” Killian added.

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