published Monday, July 8th, 2013

New Walker County facility opens this morning in Fairview

Walker County, Ga., tag office clerk Linda Slater steps over license plates stacked on the floor in the new tag office building on McFarland Avenue in Rossville. The office opens today.
Walker County, Ga., tag office clerk Linda Slater steps over license plates stacked on the floor in the new tag office building on McFarland Avenue in Rossville. The office opens today.
Photo by Tim Barber.

Three weeks on the nose.

That's how long it took Walker County, Ga., to replace a decrepit brick house at 2012 MacFarland Ave. in the Fairview community that, for years, served as the office where many residents in the northern part of the county got their vehicle tags.

"We are on schedule to be open today," County Coordinator David Ashburn said Friday.

At 8 a.m. today, the tag office is expected to reopen in a double-wide modular building that previously served as a bank in Alabama.

County workers knocked down the old house on June 17, hauled it off to the landfill the next day, then poured a concrete pad to get ready for the delivery of the new building. The modular building, which has features the old building lacked such as a safe, a night deposit box and a drive-through window, got some last-minute fixes Friday. In one fix, AT&T connected the tag office's computers with state computers in Atlanta, county officials said.

Tax Commissioner Carolyn Walker was pleased the office was reopened so quickly. County employees who set up the new office "worked diligently," Walker said.

She thinks customers will appreciate features such as a waiting area that's three times the size of the old building's, and the drive-through window, which she said is still a few weeks away from being operational.

The Walker County tax commissioner's tag office on MacFarland Avenue gets about twice as many customers as the main office in LaFayette, Deputy Tax Commissioner Karen Walker said, partly because of the concentration of title loan operations and car dealerships in the northern part of the county.

According to Ashburn, the modular building went up more quickly and cost a fraction of the $250,000 a regular building would have cost.

The $100,000 expense for the new Fairview tag office was paid for from the county's general fund, county Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell said. She hopes to repay that amount through an upcoming special purpose local option sales tax, she said.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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