Lawrence County has in place an order prohibiting group events, gatherings of more than 10
With COVID-19 cases in neighboring counties and emergency declarations from the Governor and President, Lawrence County Commission on March 20 signed an order PROHIBITING GROUP EVENTS OR GATHERINGS OF MORE THAN 10 PEOPLE in Lawrence County. Those organizing smaller gatherings are advised to take appropriate action to minimize risk. "This order shall not apply to educational institutions, daycare facilities, daily business operations, places of employment, grocery stores, retail stores, or any activity a Court of competent jurisdiction holds cannot constitutionally be closed in these specific circumstances ... 'Daily business operations' shall not include the following, which shall be closed to the public during the time this Order is effective: businesses offering entertainment, amusement, and recreation; and bars, taverns, or food establishments offering drinking or dining-in to more than 10 people at once, and except for lawful delivery, pickup and drive-through services that may be offered by said businesses, bars, taverns, or food establishments .."
Access to Historic Courthouse building now limited due to pandemic; but many services still available
Starting Monday, March 23, public access to the building will be limited due to the pandemic. County offices will be open and will be accessible by telephone or other electronic means. Each office will determine how they will handle individual cases as they occur, or by appointment.
Lawrence County Health Department open, but not for walk-in services
From the health dept.: As of Monday, March 23rd, we will be closing the health department lobby. You will no longer be able to walk in for services. If you feel you have an urgent need, please call our office to discuss how we can try to accommodate you. We have held off this decision for as long as possible but under the circumstances we feel it is now necessary.
If you are a WIC participant, we will be discussing how we can still serve you without a face to face appointment. We will hopefully announce that plan by Monday afternoon. To be clear, we are still open, but not for walk in services. Our number is 417-466-2201 if you have any questions. We appreciate your patience as we all try to navigate these challenging times. Chin up! We will get through this!
Here are some of the ways offices are able to serve you during this health emergency:
COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE - Since the election has been moved to June 2, voters can wait to vote absentee in person or request a ballot by mail. Limited curbside voting is available by calling 466-2638. For other requests, call 466-2638.
RECORDER'S OFFICE - Call 466-2670 to discuss with staff how best to handle your request.
COUNTY COMMISSION - Call 466-3666.
MT. VERNON LICENSE OFFICE - Closed until April 5. You may leave messages at 466-4087.
UNIVERSITY EXTENSION OFFICE - Call 466-3102.
TREASURER'S OFFICE - Call 466-2662 or e-mail at email@example.com.
PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE - Closed to public, but you may contact office at 466-2846.
Events & Announcements
175th celebration to be rescheduled
Lawrence County's 175th celebration event will be rescheduled. It was originally set April 9.
Election re-set to June 2; absentee voting expanded, extended
Voters with a compromised immune system or who are in a high risk age group for the coronavirus have the option of voting absentee in the General Municipal Election - which has been rescheduled from April to June 2.
Lawrence County Clerk Tammy Riebe said her office will work with voters to assure they are able to cast a ballot. To avoid crowds at polling places, they may vote absentee at her office in the courthouse from now through Monday, June 1. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Enter through the north (elevator) entrance.
Those who prefer may request that an absentee ballot be mailed to them. They should make that request by May 20. A request form can be downloaded at www.lawrencecountymo.org or call 466-2638 for more information.
They may also arrange curbside voting of an absentee ballot outside the courthouse by contacting the clerk’s office at 466-2638.
Road, bridge sales tax up for retention in June 2 election
The longstanding road and bridge sales tax in Lawrence County will be up for renewal on the June 2, 2020, ballot. Voters first approved the sales tax in 1984, and have voted in favor of renewing it each of the five times it has come up for renewal. This time it will be presented without an expiration date. The sales tax supports the 15 road districts in the county.
County clerk outlines 2020 election information
Lawrence County Clerk Tammy Riebe has announced election information for 2020:
PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE PRIMARY - MARCH 10
Register to vote before Feb. 12. Absentee voting: Jan. 28-March 9.
GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION - April 7 (Rescheduled to June 2)
Register to vote before March 11. New deadlines for absentee voting: By mail until March 27; in person until June 1. Request absentee ballot.
PRIMARY ELECTION - AUG. 4
Register to vote before July 8. Absentee voting June 23-Aug. 3
PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION - Nov. 3
Register to vote before Oct. 7. Absentee voting Sept. 22-Nov. 2
Collections on 911 sales tax begin Oct. 1, 2019
(Updated 9-17-19) The Missouri Department of Revenue has advised the county that the voter-approved half-cent sales tax for countywide 911 services will take effect Oct. 1, 2019. "Prior to the effective date, the Department (of Revenue) will mail notification of the new tax rate to all businesses registered in your county," the notice said. Revenue from the 911 sales tax does NOT go to the county; it goes to the new 911 board for operation of a countywide 911 system. The board is its own governmental entity and is named the Lawrence County Emergency Services Board. It expects to receive its first revenue in November 2019. Lawrence County voters approved the tax in April 2019.
Initial Lawrence County 911 Board of Directors named
With passage of the half-cent 911 sales tax, Lawrence County Commission has named the initial members of the seven-member Lawrence County 911 Board of Directors.
Representing the Eastern District are Jim Carson, Rick Witthuhn and Amy Buffalow. Representing the Western District are Brad DeLay, David Hubert and Bonnie Witt-Schulte.
The member at large is Mike Palmer.
“The selection of individuals to serve on the Board to govern the Lawrence County 911 emergency and dispatch service has been a very difficult, strategic and, at times, daunting task. We, the Commissioners of Lawrence County, have not taken our responsibility of appointing members of this board lightly. We have considered the comments and opinions of many Lawrence countians, especially those who are direct stakeholders in this entire process,” said Presiding Commissioner Bob Senninger. “It is the consensus of this Commission that the citizens of Lawrence County desire to have the very best possible 911 emergency communication system possible.”
Based on Missouri State Statute 190.335, the County Commission is charged with appointing a seven-member Board of Directors, who in turn will become its own political entity.
The members of this board are responsible for carrying out the design, set-up and management of 911 response and all other dispatching for the entities of the county who rely on emergency dispatch and other like services.
The Statute requires that there be three members from the Eastern District of the county and three from the Western District, with one individual chosen at large from either district. In addition, the statute indicates that there be representation from the sheriff’s office, fire, ambulance/EMT, emergency management and municipalities.
“Considering those specific requirements and a number of well qualified individuals to choose from, we believe that we have selected individuals who are very capable and highly motivated to plan, develop and implement the finest 911 dispatch center in all of southwest Missouri, located right here in Lawrence County,” Senninger said. “We want to thank each one of these individuals for their willingness to serve.”
These individuals will serve as the 911 Board of Directors from the time of their appointment and swearing in, until the April 2020 election is certified and those who have been elected are sworn in.
Those serving on the initial board, as well as any other citizen of Lawrence County, may file and run to be elected to the 911 board when filing for the April 2020 election opens. Those who choose to file must also choose the length of term for which he or she will run.
Road commissioners gather at Historic Courthouse
Lawrence County Commission hosted approximately 60 road district commissioners and personnel at their annual road commissioners meeting April 11, 2019, at the Historic Courthouse. Newly elected and re-elected commissioners were sworn in. After presentations on equipment, culverts, road oil bids, road signs, maintenance and next year's renewal of the road and bridge sales tax, the group enjoyed a lunch catered by Maggie Mae's. Murphy Tractor and Diamond Motors displayed equipment.
Lawrence County 911 measure passes
Lawrence County's 911 half-cent sales tax passed with a little over 60 percent of the vote in unofficial election results Tuesday night. Unofficial count was 2,318-1,518. Complete unofficial results of the April 2, 2019, election can be found here.
Q&A on the 911 sales tax issue
On April 2, Lawrence County voters will consider a half-cent 911 sales tax to replace the surcharge on telephone land lines, For more information on the tax and what it would do, check out this "Question and Answer" sheet.
Cleanup continues at Historic Courthouse
Crews are continuing cleanup of smoke damage from a small fire which occurred early evening Monday, April 1, at the Historic Courthouse. Karla Deaver, a University Extension staffer who was at the courthouse for an evening meeting, discovered the fire before it spread. Mt. Vernon Fire Department quickly extinguished it. While the fire was contained to a public restroom in the basement, smoke traveled throughout the historic building. All offices are open, and business is continuing as normal.
Measure on ballot to replace 911 surcharge with sales tax
Lawrence County voters will have an opportunity in April to consider replacing the surcharge on telephone land lines with a half-cent county-wide sales tax to fund central dispatching of 911 emergency services.
If the measure passes, 911 services in Lawrence County will come under the control of a board made up of representatives of the fire protection districts, ambulance districts, sheriff’s department, municipalities, any other emergency service and the general public.
That board would be its own political entity and would determine how best to provide 911 services to the citizens of Lawrence County.
Lawrence County Commission voted to place the sales tax on the ballot, and by statute, it is responsible for appointing the initial board. After that, positions on the board would be filled by election. With the board in place, the county commission would relinquish its role in the administration of 911 services, according to the statute.
The action followed a series of meetings by the 911 advisory board to determine how best to fund 911 since the traditional revenue source – 911 surcharges on telephone land lines – has been drying up.
Currently, most emergency personnel in the county are dispatched by Monett-Lawrence County 911 through agreements with the City of Monett. Those will expire in 2019.