Photo of Lawrence County Courthouse with Lady Justice and U.S. flag
Lawrence County, Missouri, Justice Center with Courthouse 2009
Photo of Lawrence County Courthouse with Lady Justice and U.S. flag
The Historic Courthouse is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. If you visit, please remember social distancing and other health guidelines. It is still preferable to do as much of your business online or by telephone as possible.
You may contact the following offices at these numbers:
COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE - Call 466-2638 or visit web site.
RECORDER'S OFFICE - 466-2670 or visit web site.
COUNTY COMMISSION - Call or leave message at 466-3666.
MT. VERNON LICENSE OFFICE - Call 466-4087.
UNIVERSITY EXTENSION OFFICE - Call 466-3102.
TREASURER'S OFFICE - Call 466-2662.
PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE - Call 466-2846.
We encourage you to follow Lawrence County Health Dept.'s Facebook page for COVID-19 related updates specific to Lawrence County.
Lincoln Day; offices closed
Commission approves 2022 spending plan;
all officeholders finish 2021 within their budgets
Lawrence County’s general operating fund should end the year in the black with the budget proposal presented to the public Jan. 12. It expects to take in $4.79 million while spending $4.73 million.
The county is entering 2022 in good fiscal shape, said Presiding Commissioner Bob Senninger; but it will continue to spend conservatively.
Two other funds the county uses to operate – the Judicial Fund and Law Enforcement Sales Tax Fund – are both expected to outspend revenues in 2022 but have reserve funds to allow it. The Judicial Fund operates the Justice Center and pays bailiff and maintenance costs. The Law Enforcement Sales Tax Fund supports the sheriff’s office and jail.
In the 2022 budget, the county proposes to:
Focus new spending on capital projects;
Bring employee pay levels up to the point where the county can comply with upcoming minimum wage increases and remain competitive; and
Continue with only modest increases in spending for overall county services.
Every officeholder finished 2021 within budget.
Among highlights of the 2022 budget:
In addition to increases in the salary schedule, the county commission opted to absorb a substantial increase in health insurance costs rather than pass the increase on to employees.
The only positions added were in the public safety sector. A position was added in the Judicial Fund and a second one added in the Law Enforcement Sales Tax Fund. These were needed for bailiff and prisoner transport duties.
Sales tax – the biggest source of revenue for county operations – has been up both years of the pandemic, thanks in part to an influx of stimulus money. For 2022, the budget calls for a conservative $1.67 million in revenue on a half-cent sales tax.
Together, the county’s three main operational funds – General Revenue, Judicial Fund and Law Enforcement Sales Tax Fund – represent $8.5 million in potential spending in 2022. That includes $1.668 million for general county operations (commission, clerk, elections, building and grounds, employee benefits, treasurer, collector, circuit clerk, recorder, court administration/electronic monitoring and public administrator); $4.746 million for public safety (sheriff, jail, justice center, prosecutor, juvenile office and coroner); $863,048 for health department; and $680,507 for other county costs (child support enforcement unit, surveyor, emergency management, insurance/bonds, publications, University Extension and dues). Also included are transfers of $400,000 to other funds (capital projects and equipment replacement) and $150,000 for the emergency fund.
Questions about the budget can be directed to County Clerk Tammy Riebe, 417-466-2638.
Didn't make the tax deadline? Here's how you can pay
Lawrence County real and personal property taxes were due by Dec. 31. But if you missed that deadline, you can still pay in person, by phone or online
You may check how much you owe and pay online at www.lawrencecountycollector.com. You also have the option of paying by phone (1-800-652-0405). Follow the prompts. There are extra charges for credit card payments.
Failure to receive a tax statement does not exempt you from paying taxes by the Dec. 31 deadline. You can see how much you owe at www.lawrencecountycollector.com.
State procedural audit results released Dec. 9
Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released results of the routine procedural audit of Lawrence County Dec. 9, 2021, giving the county a “fair” rating. Her Citizen Summary and the complete audit with responses can be found here. (Audit #2021-120)
Lawrence County’s finances and operations are reviewed regularly through routine financial audits and state procedural audits. With the increase in federal funds that pass through the county for grants and Coronavirus relief, it now also has a more extensive Single Audit. Field work on that audit is nearing completion.
County's 3/8-cent likely to begin April 1, 2022
Lawrence County will be working with the Missouri Department of Revenue to set up the 3/8-cent sales tax that unofficial election results indicate passed in the Nov. 2 election. Based on preliminary information, the county expects collection of the 3/8-cent to begin April 1, 2022.
The current sales tax rate for Lawrence County is 6.35%, which includes the state's 4.225% portion. Starting in April 2022, that rate would increase by 3/8 of 1%, making it 6.725. That portion of Lawrence County in the Barry-Lawrence Ambulance District would go from 6.85 to 7.225%. Those cities in the county with their own sales taxes would see their total rate increase by 3/8 of 1%. The City of Mt. Vernon approved a half-cent sales tax Nov. 2, so its rate would also go up that amount.
A complete list of current sales tax rates in Missouri can be found at the Dept. of Revenue web site.
Both issues pass in Nov. 2 general election official results
Lawrence County voters approved a 3/8-cent sales tax to fund a new jail/sheriff's office by a vote of 1,312-1,277. Voters in the Mt. Vernon city limits approved a 1/2-cent sales tax for parks by a vote of 340-180. Official election results will be released Friday, Nov. 5.
Public invited to town hall Oct. 28 on building proposal
(Lawrence County Commission, Oct. 21, 2021) The public is invited to a town hall meeting on the Nov. 2 ballot issue for a new Lawrence County Sheriff's Office & Detention Center. It will be held 7-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, in the second floor courtroom of the Historic Courthouse. For more about the building project, click here. For election details, click here.
County asking 3/8-cent for new jail, law enforcement facility
(Lawrence County Commission, Sept.. 14, 2021) Lawrence County voters will be asked Nov. 2 to approve a 3/8-cent sales tax to build a larger, more secure jail and sheriff’s office. After the construction is paid off, 1/8 cent of the tax would be retired. The rest would be retained for maintenance and operation of the facility and other public safety related costs. The measure requires a simple majority to pass.
The action has been years in the making, and the county has been saving toward the construction cost. However, it received a huge boost recently when the City of Mt. Vernon agreed to provide an 8.52-acre lot south of Interstate 44 for a token $1. The caveat: The county must show progress toward the construction within three years and break ground within five or the property goes back to the city.
By acting now, the county also hopes some federal funds might help with the cost. It hopes to use a portion of federal American Recovery Act funds for the air filtration system and other qualifying construction costs.
The county commission has contracted with a seasoned jail architectural firm, Elevatus Architects, to develop plans for a safer, more secure facility designed for efficiency of operation and the ability to expand in the future. Law enforcement offices that are now spread among three buildings would be combined under one roof.
The facility would be constructed within a new development area south of I-44 to be known as Mt. Vernon Commercial Park South. Initial access would be from a road to be known as Missouri Drive off the south outer road.
Notice of Use Tax
(Lawrence County Clerk Tammy Riebe, Sept. 20, 2021) Lawrence County, Missouri previously adopted a use tax, which is currently in effect. A use tax is the equivalent of a sales tax on purchases made from out-of-state vendors by in-state buyers and on certain taxable business transactions. The use tax rate for Lawrence County is currently 2.125 percent which is equal to the total local sales tax rate. Certain purchases from out-of-state vendors will become subject to an expansion of the use tax effective on January 1, 2023, as provided by state law.
If any local sales tax is repealed or the rate is reduced or raised by voter approval, the local use tax rate shall also be deemed to be repealed, reduced, or raised by the same action.
I, Tammy Riebe, County Clerk for Lawrence County, Missouri, do hereby certify that the foregoing is, to the best of my knowledge and belief, correct. Dated this 3rd day of September 2021.
County tax rates set at hearing
The annual public hearing on the county property tax rate was held Aug. 19, 2021, in the Historic Courthouse. County commissioners approved the proposed tax rate is lower than that set at least year's hearing - 0.1011 compared to 0.1216 - due to the sales tax rollback. Proposed levy for the Special Road & Bridge Fund is 0.0992 compared to 0.10 last year.
Census Bureau puts county's population at 38,001
The U.S. Census Bureau puts Lawrence County's 2020 population at 38,001, slightly below the 2010 figure of 38,634. However, another indicator suggests more people are living in Lawrence County than did in 2010. There has been a 1.4 percent increase in individual and household personal property assessment lists returned to the county assessor in the same time period.
The Census Bureau ranks Lawrence County as 31st in population in Missouri's listing of 114 counties and the City of St. Louis.
Lawrence County experienced population drops in 1910, 1920, 1930, 1950 and 1960; but it recorded steady growth from 1960 through 2010.
Lawrence County updates on COVID:
(Lawrence County Health Dept., Nov. 24, 2021) Our average two week new case count has remained virtually the same since October 15th. Unfortunately, we were saddened to receive notification of two more deaths due to COVID-19 that both happened in the month of October.
The percentage of eligible county residents vaccinated over the past two weeks only increased by .5%. We continue to encourage our residents to get vaccinated, either by calling our office or checking with your local pharmacy. Boosters are now open to anyone over 18 years of age if it has been at least 6 months since your last dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or at least 2 months since you received Johnson and Johnson.
(Lawrence County Health Dept., Nov. 12, 2021) Over the past two weeks we have had 56 new cases of COVID-19. We are also sad to report another death due to the virus and send our condolences to the family and friends of this loved one.
We are now including the percentage of eligible residents 5 and up who have been vaccinated.
If you have not been vaccinated yet and are interested, it's never too late. Being vaccinated has been proved to greatly reduce your chances of becoming ill and especially hospitalized. With the holidays quickly approaching, this is a great way to keep yourself and your loved ones protected if you plan on gathering together.
To be fully protected by Christmas Day, there is a short window of time. You would need to go with the Pfizer vaccine since it is only 3 weeks between doses, then it takes another 2 weeks to develop full protection. Your 1st dose would need to be given by November 19th.
Appointments can be made at our office or local pharmacies. All are free of charge.
(Lawrence County Health Dept., Oct. 29, 2021) Over the past two weeks we received notification of 54 new cases. Numbers are continuing to decline.
COVID-19 boosters are now available. Go to https://covidvaccine.mo.gov/facts/#third-dose to see if you qualify. We have several upcoming booster clinics in November, however most all pharmacies in the area are also giving boosters. If you got your initial doses with us, you do not have to come to us again for your booster. You are welcome to go anyplace that is convenient for you. Call 417-466-2201 if you would like to schedule with us.
(Lawrence County Health Dept., Sept. 17, 2021) We added an additional 44 cases since our dashboard post last Friday. We are also sad to report 4 additional deaths due to COVID-19 since that time. We send our condolences to the family and friends of these loved ones.
Our percentage of vaccinated individuals ages 12 and older continues to go up a little at a time. (Currently 38.7%) We hope to see that trend continue. We also hope to see the downward trend of new cases continue as well. Have a safe weekend!
(Lawrence County Health Dept., Sept. 10, 2021) We have added 81 new cases over the past 10 days. We are also sad to announce the passing of two Lawrence County residents due to COVID-19. (1 in their 70s and 1 in their 80s). We send our condolences to the families and friends of these loved ones.
We encourage those who have still not been vaccinated to consider doing so. Local hospital data clearly shows the benefits of being vaccinated. It greatly reduces your chance of getting the virus, becoming severely ill from the virus and dying from the virus.
You can call our office to schedule a Monday or Friday appointment at 417-466-2201 or contact your local pharmacy. Vaccines are free! Have a safe weekend.
(Lawrence County Health Dept., Aug. 30, 2021) We are sad to report the COVID-19 related death of a Lawrence County resident in their 70's. We send our sincere condolences to the family and friends of this loved one.
Our new cases numbers have steadily began to decline over the past couple weeks. As the new school year starts, it greatly helps to keep these numbers down, by not sending children to school if they feel unwell, or if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 outside of school.
We get several calls everyday from people needing testing resources. We do not provide testing here, but our website has a long list of local testing locations http://www.lawrencecohealth.com/coronavirus/
Also, just a reminder that we do not provide any nursing services without an appointment and we also require persons to wear a mask when inside our building.
We are still taking appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations. These vaccinations are given Monday's and Friday's by calling 417-466-2201.
(Lawrence County Health Dept., Aug. 20, 2021) Seventy-eight new cases were received since Tuesday morning. We are also sadly reporting 3 more deaths. Two were individuals in their 50's and one in their 70's. Our thoughts are with the loved ones of those who passed. Please protect yourself and others:
Get a vaccine
Wear a mask
Have a safe weekend.
(Fully vaccinated as of Aug. 20, 36 percent.)
(Lawrence County Health Dept., Aug. 16, 2021) Since our last dashboard post a week ago, we are sad to announce we received confirmation of another death due to COVID-19, an individual in their 70's. We send our condolences to the family and friends of this loved one.
We added 82 new cases over the past 7 days and are happy to see that daily cases are slowly down.
Vaccination is still very important as is masking and social distancing. Please call our office to schedule an appointment at 417-466-2201. Most pharmacies in the county also carry COVID-19 vaccine.
We are still waiting to hear from the Missouri Department of Health Senior Services about boosters (when we can start giving them and who is eligible). We will share more information on this as soon as it is available.
(Fully vaccinated as of Aug. 16, 33.4 percent.)
How to obtain a COVID-19 release letter:
(Lawrence County Health Dept., Aug. 4, 2021) Due to the high volume of COVID-19 cases, we will no longer be providing personalized release letters for positive individuals. Instead, we have a document posted on our website that explains the criteria that must be met in order to be released from isolation. An individual can present this document to their employer, school, etc. ALONG WITH a copy of their positive result. This should be provided to you from the testing facility.
Here is link for the document for employers, etc.: Criteria for release from isolation.
We are still doing our best to make contact with positive individuals as soon as we can. A week ago we started to use a mass texting system. A text will be sent to the phone number associated with the positive result that shares a link with instructions on how to isolate or quarantine until we can make a personal call. This hopefully helps a person get a jump start on knowing what steps they need to take in order to stop the spread.
Many people think the term isolation simply means not leaving the home. To truly isolate, a positive person needs to stay in a separate room (usually a bedroom) away from all others in the home and use a separate bathroom from others if available. All efforts should be made to reduce the spread to others residing in the home. This can also lessen the length of time the others in the home will need to quarantine since it is based on the late date of close contact to a positive person.
Here is the link that explains isolation/quarantine in greater detail. Home isolation/quarantine instructions.
County commissioners and Sheriff DeLay review plans for the new Lawrence County Law Enforcement Center
A Holiday Central angel tree can be found in the foyer of the Historic Courthouse. People can adopt an angel tag and return the purchased items and tag to the courthouse no later than Monday, Dec. 2, 2019.
County commissioners and Sheriff DeLay review plans for the new Lawrence County Law Enforcement Center