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Information about Douglas County services amid COVID-19 pandemic

Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 10:00am

In an effort to protect the health and safety of Douglas County employees and the community, Douglas County is restricting access to all Douglas County buildings, effective March 19 until further notice. This safety measure is in accordance with guidance from local, state, and federal health officials to help prevent spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The situation is continually evolving, but Douglas County wants to assure residents that we will continue to provide high-quality services for the community. All essential services remain operational and employees are ready to assist by phone and email. Many services are available online at www.douglascountyks.org.

As of March 25, here's a list of Douglas County's operations:

Administration

Administration continues to meet essential services, including serving in Unified Command for this incident and providing support for the meeting of the Board of County Commissioners.  Staff have been mobilized to work from home to meet essential services and additional county priorities. Staff will be in County facilities as necessary to maintain essential service and provide for basic continuity of operations.   

Appraiser’s Office

County Appraiser staff have been mobilized to work from home for most functions. This includes informal meetings by telephone contact for valuation disagreements. Property owners have been advised to send documentation prior to the appointed call. Phones and mail is being monitored and routed appropriately.

The County Appraiser asks that residents send, via mail or e-mail to appeals@douglascountyks.org, their supporting documentation prior to the date and time of the scheduled contact. The county will provide documentation regarding the value estimate. To search for real property and personal property records, visit: https://apps.douglascountyks.org/mycounty/property-search/source.asp.

Building and Grounds

Building and Grounds staff continue meet essential custodial and maintenance services.  Custodial staff normally responsible for waste removal have been redeployed to deep clean buildings.  Several buildings provide essential services, and continue to be occupied and operational.  They will need ongoing support from Maintenance.  As the stay at home order continues, other staff maybe mobilized to assist with landscape and grounds functions as needed.  The Douglas County Fairgrounds is closed.

County Clerk

The County Clerk’s Office continues to meet essential functions with staff mobilized to work at home.  Essential functions such as Accounts Payable and Payroll, are operating effectively from staff working at home. Office phones have been forwarded to the appropriate personnel.  Appointments can be made for essential in-person functions, such as candidate filings.

The County Clerk's Office strongly encourages citizens to maintain social distancing by using the Office's online functions, emailing or calling for assistance.

Staff will be available to respond to email and telephone calls. Contact information is:

Criminal Justice Services

Criminal Justice Services – Adult Services staff is mobilized to work from home for most functions. Currently, pre-trial assessments and telephone contact can continue to be done.  CJS will not have staff in attendance at First Appearance, unless they are held in an electronic video format.  Individuals released for house arrest will report to the Juvenile Detention Center to be connected to electronic monitoring.  We have issued PPE equipment to staff who perform in-person functions.

The Detention Center will continue to operate, and be the main point of contact for any questions and communications related the CJS department. Staff is encouraging families to communicate via telephone. Residents have routine temperature checks. We are adjusting staff rotations and shifts as our needs change. We will continue to have an Administrator on-call and available should problems arise.

District Attorney

The  District Attorneys Office is temporarily closed to the public. The office continues to review cases, charge in-custody cases, and proceed with the specific hearings identified in Kansas Supreme Court Order 2020-PR-16.  During this temporary closure citizens can continue to reach the DA’s by emailing districtattorney@douglascountyks.org, and can access a vast amount of information on our website www.dgcoda.org.

District Court

Per the order for the Kansas Supreme Court, Chief Judge McCabria has issued several administrative orders that will maintain critical functions of the District Court. All hearings in all cases currently pending in the District, to include all criminal and civil cases, including jury trials, are postponed until further order of the Division Judge to which the case or matter is assign. Child in Need of Care (CINC) temporary custody hearings, including secure care and review of secure care hearings, juvenile offender detention hearings, offender detention review hearings, Protection from Abuse (PFA)/Protection from Stalking (PSA), Care and Treatment cases, and Criminal First Appearances are continuing.

The Court Trustee is not open to the public with an exception: On Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., those who want to make an in person cash or check payment on court-ordered support will be allowed access to the office. Although the office is otherwise closed to the public the Court Trustee and staff remain on duty and will continue to closely monitor support and restitution payments. District Court staff can be contacted at 785-832-5315.

For more information: visit this webpage

Emergency Management

Douglas County Emergency Management is serving as the Planning Section Chief for Unified Command and Manager of the Douglas County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) which includes 10 active Emergency Support Functions and two working groups.  Staff are working remotely as possible to limit exposure and have implemented security protocols inside the EOC.

Information Technology

IT has begun telecommuting and meeting essential information technology needs from home. There will be 2 to 3 people onsite to deal with hardware issues.  Phone lines to the department are being answered.

Public Works

The Lone Star Campground and restroom is closed, but open areas at the lake are open to the public.

Designated Superintendents will remain on duty to patrol County Roads for safety issues and on-call to address any identified safety issues.  Reduced Fleet services will be available to assist in meeting essential service needs for County vehicles.  Engineering staff have begun working from home to meet essential services and support any additional functions that can be accomplished.  Construction and Government functions are exempt from the Stay at Home order.  Any construction contracts that have already been authorized may continue as contractors and staff are available.    

While most field services have been reduced or eliminated, Public Works is ensuring that adequate field personnel is available in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency event, as well as to perform any critical road and bridge maintenance items.

Register of Deeds

Essential staff will be working on Electronic Recordings from home. Other staff maybe mobilized to assist from home as well.  All Douglas County Register of Deed records can be accessed remotely at: https://landmark.douglascountyks.org/LandmarkWeb/Account/LogOn.

Online copy fees are the same as in-office copy fees. 

Documents for recording can be submitted through any of the Office's four e-recording providers listed at https://www.douglascountyks.org/depts/register-of-deeds/e-recordings.

Or, they can be mailed to:
Register of Deeds
1100 Massachusetts Street, Unit 310
Lawrence, KS 66044

Staff will be available to answer telephone calls at 785-832-5282 and respond to email at rod@douglascountyks.org.

Sheriff’s Office

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office continues to meet essential services and provide public safety to the community.  As an essential agency the majority of the Sheriff’s Office staff are still reporting for duty, an extremely limited number of personnel were able to be sent home. The Sheriff continues to work with other law enforcement and first responder agencies in the county to address the public health emergency and support the orders issued by the Douglas County Public Health Officer. Patrol deputies are handling calls via telephone whenever possible and use available PPE for in-person response. 

The Douglas County Correctional Facility has suspended work release programs and inmate visitation for the duration of the Public Health Officer’s orders; inmates are being granted two free 15-minute phone calls during this period in addition to their regular paid phone time. All individuals entering the correctional facility are receiving additional screening for symptoms of the virus and appropriate measures are being taken. The Sheriff’s Office is working closely with the District Court to support Administrative Orders put forth by Chief Judge McCabria.  Public fingerprinting services and foreclosure sales at the Law Enforcement Center have been suspended.

Additional updates and information can be found on the Sheriff’s Office website and social media channels: www.DGSO.org , https://www.facebook.com/dgsosheriff/, https://twitter.com/DGSOSheriff.

Treasurer

The Douglas County Treasurer’s Office is asking for the public’s help in meeting essential services while employees work from home.  All satellite offices are closed until further notice.  For motor vehicle functions, this month those with the last name starting with “B” have tags that expire March 31. There are three options for renewal:

  • Online at ikan.ks.gov    
  • Mail to: P.O. Box 884, Lawrence, KS 66044
  • Place in the drop box at the Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts Street, (in the south parking lot) or 2000 W 31st St. (at the east end of the parking lot).

Renewals will be processed in our office same day. Please do not wait until the last day of the month.

If you have a newly-purchased vehicle you have 60 days from the date of purchase to get it titled. All title work will be done by appointment through QLess, the county’s scheduling software qless.douglascountyks.org.

If you recently purchased a new/used vehicle and need a temporary tag, e-mail your title and proof of insurance to motorvehicles@douglascountyks.org. This will be processed via e-mail instead of in-person. We will e-mail you the temporary tag and mail the plastic tag bag. The purchase date needs to be within 60 days, or we will be unable to provide a temporary tag.

If you have sold or traded a vehicle in, you can put the plate from the sold vehicle on the new vehicle to serve as your 60 temporary tag.

All real estate or personal property tax payment options:

  • Mail to: PO Box 668, Lawrence, KS 66044.  
  • Placed in the drop box at the Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts Street, (in the south parking lot) or at the office at 2000 W 31st. Contact our office at 785-832-5178 for current payoff information. 
  • Online payments can be made at https://ks-douglas.manatron.com/Tabs/TaxSearch.aspx.

Zoning and Codes

In regards to Zoning, staff will be working from home to maintain essential functions.  Staff will continue to be available for zoning violation inquires, home business questions as well as working on updating CUPs, Home Businesses and Site Plans. Office phones have been forwarded to the appropriate staff. We anticipate some delays in response time.    

In regards to Codes, phone lines have been transferred to staff working from home.  Inspection services will be provided everyday as needed.  Inspection staff will alternate schedules in the field and office to adhere to social distancing with each other.  Nonessential inspections will be postponed to a later date. Staff reserves the right to not perform inspections in occupied buildings, i.e. kitchen remodel, like Lawrence and Johnson County.  Document dropoff totes have been placed at the Public Works and Zoning and Codes Building, 3755 E. 25th Street.  Electronic plan submittals are allowed and encouraged, and permits can be paid for remotely.

Media Contact

Karrey Britt, Communications Specialist
785-330-2894