New London, Norwich city halls close to the public, employees operating by phone inside


NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — New London City Hall and Norwich City Hall are closed to the public Thursday like most city and town halls around the state due to coronavirus spread concerns.

But employees are still inside the city clerk’s office as they are in most offices. They are still working and doing their jobs for the town.

One big change to their work day since the virus outbreak began is meeting with the public. They say are not letting the general public in the building.

Debbie Biekert came to Norwich City Hall to pay her taxes but like most municipal buildings it is closed to the public. You can only go as far as just inside the front door to get phone numbers and other help.

“I grabbed a little bit of whatever they had there about all the closings and all the services that they have offered in here,” said Biekert.

She says her tax payment check will soon be in the mail.
“They even give you a pre-addressed envelope and everything,” said Biekert.

Whether you need to pay your taxes, get to probate court, or get a birth certificate at the city clerk’s office it is now being done remotely.

“Online or mail them in so I guess I”m not off the hook,” said Biekert with a laugh.

Neither are the taxpayers in New London where the finance department is in an old bank.

“Our business at the finance office can be done through the drive through and it’s actually been fairly active,” said Mayor Michael Passero, (D) New London. 

He says most of the city services could already be done online or through the mail but now most of them have to be.

Those who need to do something in person like get a marriage license from the city clerk’s office can call for an appointment.

Residents can also call with questions.

“We’ve had no interruption of service so far due to the pandemic,” said Mayor Passero.

A new way of doing business which cities and towns hope will flatten the curve as it has in the past.

“We don’t want to be Philadelphia in the 1918 pandemic we want to be St. Louis,” said the mayor.

He says the same types of social distancing back then kept more people alive in St. Louis.

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