STUART, Fla. — The Martin County tax collector's office has been closed countywide for several days, causing frustration and confusion for people who need access to its services.
Dozens of customers showed up Thursday to find a locked door and a paper sign that said the office was closed for network updating.
Tax Collector Ruth Pietruszewski has not elaborated as to what caused network issues.
The Martin County tax collector's website does not say the offices are closed, prompting people to continue showing up throughout the day. The tax collector updated its voicemail to say it is closed, but customers Thursday said they do not typically call ahead.
However, a Facebook post on the tax collector's page said the "office recently began experiencing a network issue that is impacting the functionality of certain systems. As a result, certain services are not currently available. We are actively taking steps to address this issue and and working diligently to restore system operations."
There is no indication yet as to how long the offices will remain closed.
Gregory Agopian has been trying for two days to renew his tags.
"If it's a computer issue, how long is it going to take? A couple of days?" Agopian questioned.
Tami Matusow needed to replace a lost driver's license.
"I'm frustrated. I might get stopped by a cop, so, I mean, the best thing I could do was take a picture of the sign," Matusow said.
A father was also there trying to finalize paperwork for his daughter's new car.
"At my job, if I had a server down, I'd be unemployed. This is unacceptable," he said. "How can this whole office be closed?"
Ed, who didn't want to give a last name, said he understands technical problems happen and can take time to resolve. He said he wishes there was clearer communication.
"It might have been nice if there were something out there ahead of time," Ed said.
Agopian said he came to the office because it was still listed as open on a Google search.
"Checked on my phone today and it says open," Agopian said. "Closes at 4 o'clock. So that's why I came."
The St. Lucie County tax collector's office learned of the issues in Martin County and said it contacted Martin County to offer to help.
The St. Lucie County tax collector's office said all three of its locations are providing the following services to Martin County residents:
- Driver licenses and identification cards, registration renewals, driving tests (by appointment only), titles, handicapped placards, CDL and HAZMAT, hunting and fishing licenses and dealer services (though St. Lucie County dealer work will take precedence).
- Services not offered include Martin County property tax, tangible personal property tax, tourist tax, business tax, birth certificates, concealed weapons, TSA pre-check and TWIC cards, alarms, EMS, pet licensing and SunPass.
Those needing assistance with the available services listed above can make an appointment online by going to www.tcslc.com and clicking on "make an appointment," which are available each day from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Customers can also utilize daily walk-in hours of 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., with driver license transactions ending at 4:30 p.m.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, offices throughout the state, including St. Lucie County, have restricted service to residents from their own counties. Tax Collector Chris Craft is making an exception to lend a hand to his southern neighbors so that they may receive the services they need, a spokesperson said.
Martin County's tax collector's Facebook page also states limited services are available at these specific Martin County locations:
- Concealed weapons permits are operational at the Willoughby branch, TSA is operational at the Palm City Branch and the kiosk at Martin Downs Publix can issue registration renewal decals. St. Lucie County's tax collector will serve Martin County residents for DMV transactions by appointment or as a walk-in between 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles also provided tips to assist Martin County residents:
- Many driver's license and motor vehicle services can be completed online through the state's MyDMV Portal.