Provisions have been put in place to maintain services to the public while the Choctaw County Courthouse is closed due the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Choctaw County Commission voted to close the courthouse to the public during a special meeting on March 27. The closure is effective from Friday, March 27, at noon through Monday, April 6 at 8 a.m. No one, other than essential personnel, will be allowed inside the facility to visit any offices through the closure.
Personnel in offices inside the courthouse will continue to provide services and will be available to assist the public by telephone, by mail, or in some cases via internet. The courthouse can be reached by calling 205-459-2100.
According to information provided by Probate Judge Michael Armistead, personnel will be available in the Board of Registrars office to answer telephone calls and will still handle absentee voter applications and voter registration by mail. Registration packets can be sent by mail and applications can be downloaded from the internet. Absentee ballots for the upcoming party primary run-off elections can still be sent in, as usual.
The Board of Registrars office can be reached at 205-459-2531. Voter information and registration can be accessed at www.sos.alabama.gov.
According to Sheriff Scott Lolley, the Choctaw County Sheriff’s office will maintain essential personnel to respond to the public. Residents can seek assistance via telephone, and in situations where individuals need to meet with deputies, arrangements will be made without opening the courthouse for visitors.
The Circuit Clerk’s office will maintain essential personnel and be available to respond to the public. The office can be reached at 205-459-2155.
The Choctaw County Probate Office will be available to answer calls from the public and will continue to file documents like mortgages and deeds. Attorneys who need to file deeds or other documents can call the probate office and a staff member will meet them outside to collect the information.
The Treasurer’s office will continue to maintain operations to pay bills and complete payroll for county employees.
Personnel will be available in the tag office to answer telephone calls from residents. Payments for vehicle tags can be made over the phone by credit card, or by mail, and tags will be sent out by mail.
Staff members will also be available in the Revenue Commissioner’s office to handle telephone calls and provide information for taxpayers.
Those who are required to renew vehicle tags or pay property taxes will have until April 15 to do so, and any penalties for late payment will be waived.
Mail sent to the courthouse offices will be collected from the post office by maintenance personnel who will deliver it to the offices and mail out any correspondence sent from those offices. Deliveries will be allowed by appointment only.
Personnel with the Choctaw County Road and Bridge Department will remain on the job. The engineer’s office and landfill office will remain in operation, but there will be no public access to those offices.
Court will still be held, with limited access. Court sessions will only be open to defendants and officers of the court, per order of the Circuit Judge. According to information provided by Sheriff Scott Lolley, defendants who had been scheduled for court appearances on March 30 or 31 but have bonded out will have their court dates automatically moved to May 18. Inmates whose appearances were set for Monday, March 30, or Tuesday, March 31, will still have those court appearances on those dates, under the limited access provisions set down by the circuit judge. Family members and the public will not be allowed to attend.
More information will be provided as it is made available.