With the Pike County Tax Collector’s Office partially closed for the third day Friday due to COVID-19, there was some confusion at the courthouse as to whether citizens will have to pay late fees even if they paid their taxes before the end of July.
Tax Collector Gwen Nunnery said even though counter service is not open, any payments made via drop box, mail or Internet will not be counted as late.
“There will be no penalties if received in this office by mail, internet or drop box,” she said.
However, late fees for July payments made after July 31 cannot be waived regardless of the coronavirus, said board of supervisors president Sam Hall.
The tax collector’s office closed Tuesday after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. Officials summoned Brandy Morgan of Collaborative Health and Rehabilitation Services, which offers a two-day turnaround, to test other employees.
Nunnery was waiting on those results before reopening. However, the office continues to function via phone, Internet, mail and drop box, she said.
On Friday, Morgan offered her services to supervisors for any county employees that need testing. She said she will charge $50 to come to county buildings and test employees, with results back in two days — far shorter than the one to two weeks currently common.
Her clinic is located on Fred Martin Road in northeast Pike County and is staffed by Dr. David Snow, she said.
The $50 fee is not billable to insurance, though the test fees are, she said.
County administrator Tami Dangerfield questioned whether the county can pay Morgan a fee for services that are covered by insurance. She said the county’s insurance policy covers 100% of COVID-10 testing fees, and StatCare is waiving the co-pay.
“Normally what we’ve seen is a 10- to 14-day turnaround,” Dangerfield said.
Board attorney Wayne Dowdy said he thinks the county can contract with Morgan since the state is under a disaster declaration from the virus.
Morgan tested 14 county employees Tuesday and charged them $50 each. She asked supervisors to consider signing a contract to pay her to test any employees as needed on-site.
Supervisor Robert Accardo suggested the $50 would be cheaper than the cost of employees waiting at home for test results.
Dangerfield noted that the Families First Coronavirus Act allows the county to pay up to 80 hours of paid leave with a doctor’s release.
“I like the fact of a quick turnaround,” Hall said.
Supervisors asked Morgan to meet with Dangerfield to discuss details.
Meanwhile, Sheriff James Brumfield said he has had 11 employees out due to the virus so far, but now only two remain out awaiting test results.
“Thank goodness we had no (jail) residents down with COVID,” he said.
Brumfield said the death of jail Capt. Glenn Green from COVID has drawn a tremendous outpouring of condolences, including a flag flown in his memory over the Missouri capitol. He asked supervisors to pass a resolution in Green’s honor.