In response to entities related to the purchase and sale of properties, Page County has changed its restrictions to public access to the courthouse to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.
Starting Wednesday, March 18, the county board of supervisors approved to use secured drop boxes outside the courthouse. People were asked to leave their information in the boxes which are emptied and processed daily.
Supervisor Chuck Morris said he has since heard from businesses involved with real estate sales, restrictions were slowing down the sale process.
“We believe every record a local abstractor needs can be retrieved by email, phone or fax. There are exceptions,” Morris said Friday morning. “The requester can make arrangements with the office to have those records pulled and arrange a time to have the exchange of records at the courthouse door, either the north or south door. The requester will not be allowed in the building.”
At the same time, recorder office fees will be waived, Morris said.
"The fee waiving is complicated and our office will only charge normal fees allowed by law, while waiving fees that normally aren't charged when an agency does their own search in the courthouse vault," he said. “We are trying to support local businesses as much as we can."
Morris said the procedures will be monitored daily.
“We have to be aware of what is going on especially if we get a confirmed case in Page County or closer. Our public health staff is monitoring it hourly,” he said.
Page County Treasurer Angie Dow said the state’s disaster emergency has also changed driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations.
If a driver’s license has an expiration date of Jan. 16, 2020, or later, the holder does not have to renew the license. It will remain valid until the disaster status has ended. If a vehicle registration expired Jan. 16, 2020, or later, it will also be valid until the disaster has ended.
Page County’s driver’s license office in Shenandoah will be closed until further notice. Driver’s licenses can be obtained at the state offices in Council Bluffs and Des Moines, by appointment only. For more information, go online to iowadot.gov/mvd/driverslicense.
If purchasing or transferring a vehicle, the person will not be required to obtain a title and registration within 30 days. That will also remain in effect until the disaster has ended. If a purchase was made from a dealer, the person will not be required to obtain license plates within 45 days. That will remain in effect until the disaster has ended.
An earlier version of this story did not include the details of the fees being waived.