For more than a decade, the Spokane County auditor, treasurer, assessor and board of equalization offices have closed at 1 p.m. on Fridays, to the frustration of anyone trying to get paperwork or applications in last-minute before the weekend.
Now, Friday afternoons are back.
On Tuesday, Spokane County commissioners voted to restore Friday afternoon hours for those offices.
Starting Sept. 17, the offices will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We’re pleased about it,” Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said. “It’s going to make it a lot more convenient for our customers.”
Spokane County Chief Deputy Treasurer Mike Volz said the treasurer’s office has wanted to open back up on Friday afternoons for a while.
“It’s time to open,” Volz said. “The treasurer’s office has been wanting this since we moved downtown.”
Dalton said her office used to be open to the public on Friday afternoons, but the Great Recession forced the county to cut costs.
“We lost staff,” Dalton said. “It was tough times.”
Spokane County Assessor Tom Konis said that the county assessor’s office also had to cut hours because of the layoffs.
“It was at the time the only thing they thought they could do to work with that staffing level,” Konis said.
Dalton said her employees were still working on Friday afternoons, but they weren’t interacting with customers. They were simply catching up on work so they didn’t get behind.
The plan was always to bring back Friday afternoon hours someday, Dalton said. Now, thanks in part to COVID-19, it’s possible.
COVID-19 forced people to do more business online, and more people have been using the county’s online services, Dalton said.
“People have now become more familiar and more accepting of doing their transactions electronically and of using the phone and websites,” she said. “We’re hoping that that’s going to keep down the foot traffic throughout the week.”
For instance, Dalton noted more people are using the online form to fill out their marriage license applications. Whenever someone uses the county’s online services, instead of visiting in-person, it saves staff time, and that makes restoring Friday afternoon hours possible.
But Dalton said she hopes people don’t wait until the last minute to visit the auditor, treasurer, assessor and board of equalization offices.
“Please don’t wait until quarter-to-four on a Friday to get your marriage license,” she said. “There’s probably five couples waiting.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.