Sullivan County governmental offices announce COVID-19 precautions

J. H. Osborne • Mar 19, 2020 at 9:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Steps being taken by Sullivan County government’s many offices are now online at the county’s website, which includes links to each department with that department’s current policy in response to the social distancing guidelines meant to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Here are a few changes at some of the most-visited offices.

Sullivan County clerk’s offices

The public is strongly encouraged to utilize services offered online rather than visiting the offices in person. County Clerk Teresa Jacobs is encouraging the use of the drive-thru window at the Blountville location for all tag renewals. You can also renew your tag online at www.tncountyclerk.com or mail in your renewal to 3258 Hwy. 126, Blountville, TN 37617. Your request will be processed promptly and your new registration will be mailed to you. Additionally, you can apply for a business license or to be a notary public from the convenience of your home or office.

“I will continue to monitor the situation and if community spread begins, I will take any further action deemed necessary,” Jacobs posted. “Please know that we will do everything within our power to continue to serve the public’s needs as best we can; however, it would be best to prepare for some slight inconveniences. If you are elderly or immunocompromised, and do not have the ability to utilize our online services, please call our office at (423) 323-6428 and an employee will be happy to accommodate you.”

Other notes:

• As wedding season begins to get in full swing, appointments may be required to get the necessary paperwork in order to lessen foot traffic within the office. You can apply for your marriage license online, which will greatly reduce face-to-face contact, and it may become necessary for an employee from the office to bring the paperwork to your vehicle to obtain the signatures.

• If you have a valid passport, Jacobs asks that you refrain from obtaining your REAL ID through her office at this time, as it is not imperative to obtain a REAL ID when you already have a TSA-approved document to travel domestically and internationally.

Sullivan County Animal Shelter

 Adoptions are open, but have slowed greatly. Shelter officials ask that if you are simply looking or not prepared to adopt at this time to reduce the risk to shelter staff by avoiding unnecessary human to human contact. If you are sick, please stay home.

The shelter’s policy now is essential intake only to ensure adequate space for animals brought in through animal control, emergency cases, and cruelty and neglect cases with the adoption slowdown. If you find a stray, please attempt to locate the owner. If the owner cannot be located, please call the shelter and ask for animal control to be dispatched. Do not bring strays directly to the shelter.

Owner surrender of pets will be limited to documented emergency cases only. If you are surrendering due to a concern about obtaining or paying for pet food, the shelter has partnered with Appalachian Mission Pawsible to provide a pet food pantry and can provide two to four weeks of pet food for those who are displaced from work or those who cannot afford pet food related to other extenuating costs.

Sullivan County property assessor’s office

Sullivan County Assessor of Property Donna Whitaker has issued a temporary end to walk-in services until further notice. Whitaker encourages those with questions or comments about their property and property values to call, email or mail her office.

“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have to adjust our normal everyday operations,” Whitaker wrote in her department’s online post. “We want to do all we can to protect the community and our staff.”

Options for contacting the office are: by phone at (423) 323-6455; by email at [email protected] or [email protected] ; by mail at Sullivan County Property Assessor, 3411 Highway 126, Suite 103, Blountville, TN 37617.

Sullivan County trustee’s office

The trustee’s office is temporarily closed to public access. “Our office will be working as usual with the ability to provide the same services to our citizens without face to face contact with individuals,” Trustee Susan Ramsey posted on her department’s website. “We have a payment drop box outside of the courthouse just to the left of our office (from the street view) for making payments, as well as sending payments by mail. You will be able to contact us by phone during normal business operating hours.”

Sullivan County planning and codes office

“We would like to keep from directly interfacing with the public,” Director Ambre Torbett posted on the office’s website. “At this time our team is currently working to have permit, planning and zoning applications available for online submittal, and will continue to have a staff member at the Planning and Codes counter to accept paper applications and payment. Please call prior to coming to our office. All planning inquires can be submitted via email at [email protected] or contact our office at (423) 323-6440.”

Sullivan County Archives and Tourism

Offices of the Sullivan County Department of Archives and Tourism will be temporarily closed to the general public until April 6. This will include the main office located at 3425 Hwy. 126, Blountville, and the Sullivan County Heritage Tourism Information Center located at 1575 Hwy. 394 in Blountville. Staff members will continue to work onsite at the main office and will respond to all general information inquiries, records inquiries and tourism questions. You may reach a staff member by calling (423) 323-4660 or by emailing [email protected] The Old Deery Inn and Community Center will also cease operations until May.

Sullivan County register of deeds office

In an effort to practice social distancing as requested by the CDC, the register of deeds office is temporarily closed for public access. However, its staff is still working and still recording documents. These documents can be electronically filed, mailed into the office, or placed in the drop box outside of the office. If you need the total fees for your recordings, please call or email the office. If you need copies of any documents, call or email your request. Options for contacting the register of deeds: call (423) 323-6420 or (423) 323-6424; email [email protected] or [email protected]. Another tool the public may use is an online records search at TitleSearcher.com (user name: sullivancares Password: registerofdeeds).

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