Following trends made by other local governments, Montesano City Hall has closed its doors for one hour each morning.
The change was made last week without much fanfare or notice.
Mayor Ken Estes says that a lack of manpower at City Hall means that city employees need to take their mornings to play “catch up” before opening the doors to the public.
The change impacts all divisions at City Hall. However, the city will still take utility notices and parking infraction payments via envelope at the regular drop off box. Those payments will be processed promptly, the mayor says.
City Administrator Kristy Powell says that training days will also prompt City Hall to close its doors sometimes.
Powell notes that City Hall will continue to be open at noon, which puts the hours at a solid 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The new hours went into effect on Feb. 1.
“Before, we had some offices close for lunch and the public would stop by and not really know our hours,” Estes said.
City officials are working on a new leak policy and integrating meter electronic readers into their current systems, along with many other tasks, Estes said.
Estes says he will continue to hold office hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or later by appointment, if necessary.
“If I’m here, the public is invited to stop by and say ‘hello,’” Estes says. “This has worked for the past two years.”
Across the street at the County Administration Building, most offices don’t open up until 9 a.m. And, even then, most of the offices also close at the lunch hour.
The City Hall in McCleary chooses to operate from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., closing an hour early to process its billing in the final hour of the day.