GEORGETOWN, Texas - Williamson County tax office lobbies were busy Tuesday.
The seats in the waiting areas at all four locations will be empty on Wednesday, April 20. The offices are closed to the public, but it’s no holiday for the employees.
"It is a work day for us, we are absolutely not relaxing," said Larry Gaddes. "This is part of the paper monster."
This backlog battle is why Gaddes has decided to close all of his offices one day each month.
"And it’s painful for us to see that, because we know that each envelope that’s sitting there is another taxpayer in our county that’s waiting on us to do something," said Gaddes.
Some of those at the Georgetown office on Tuesday didn't know about the Wednesday closure. Amy Palmer who was there to register her car had no idea about the closure.
"So if I didn't come today I'd kind of be stuck, because I have to have it done by the end of the month," said Palmer.
A staff shortage is also contributing to the problem.
"I would love to be able to hire myself out of this problem, we have been trying to hire ourselves out of this problem for months and months now," said Gaddes.
The Williamson County Tax Office has almost 60 positions but Gaddes says currently 30% are vacant.
"We are struggling to find good candidates to hire and then for them to actually follow through the entire process, or interviewing, and then showing up even for the ones that we do hire. Sometimes they simply do not show up, they may have found another job," said Gaddes.
The country staffing crisis mirrors what private businesses are experiencing.
Customers like Bill Bannon understand there is no easy solution.
"No. I just don’t know, it’s crazy, you can’t go anywhere to get anything anymore," said Bannon.
Online auto registration will be running Wednesday. There are also two AAA offices that can be used as well as H-E-B grocery stores.
Where to pay for motor vehicle registration on April 20:
- www.WilCo.org/motor vehicle
- AAA location at 13376 N Hwy 183 #108, Austin TX 78750
- AAA location at 201 University Blvd. #750, Round Rock TX 78665
- HEB Business Centers/ All Williamson County stores
The backlog was set in motion last year by something that just may come as a surprise. The auto-computer chip shortage. It triggered a spike in person to person used car sales, and that created a spike in paperwork.
"Those transactions actually take longer to process, than a dealership purchased vehicle, therefore that causes more people to sit in our lobbies and a longer wait time in our lobbies, which has caused us to have more staff waiting at our counters to serve those people, which has caused the back-up in the mailed in transactions," said Gaddes.
Essentially a chain-reaction pile-up requiring at least one day to clean up.