County asks taxpayers to pay online

County looks to avoid long lines, chance of COVID-19 spread at Truman Courthouse

Jeff Fox
The Examiner

Jackson County officials are encouraging people to pay their taxes online, an effort to cut down on long lines for paying personal property taxes as the Dec. 31 deadline approaches.

One particular concern is the potential for the spread of COVID-19 at the Truman Courthouse on the Independence Square. Lines are typically long in the closing days of December, and County Administrator Troy Schulte points out space there is relatively tight.

The county plans to waive the e-check and transaction fees for those taxes and set aside $350,000 in federal COVID-19 aid to cover those expenses. That measure was on Monday’s agenda and was expected to pass.

“We’re trying anything and everything, trying to mitigate it, while still making it available for folks. If they need to come down, they can. It’s available. But (officials are) doing everything in our power to spread them out and make it as easy as possible to transact business with the county,” Schulte told county legislators last week.

He said people should expect longer lines in some cases because the county has switched to minimal staffing to slow the spread of the virus and to avoid having to shut down entire offices or operations. On the other hand, the county has adopted new software meant to manage the flow of lines more efficiently.

“But again, our goal is to try to keep everything open – just at a minimal staffing until we can get through this,” Schulte said.

Some legislators raised concerns about the clarity of the county’s COVID-19 rules and pandemic safety guidelines generally. For instance, Legislator Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs, asked about those who test positive for the disease but then feel better in a couple days and start getting out and about – potentially spreading the disease – too soon.

“We’re arguing if you have any symptoms at all, stay home,” Schulte said. “Stay away from people … whether actually COVID tested or not, just err on the side of caution and self-isolate. Should be for 14 days or 10 days after the onset of symptoms unless you still have symptoms. …. If you’re feeling under the weather, stay home, stay away from people, regardless of the reason.”