The first coronavirus case affecting an employee of the Flagler County Property Appraiser’s office was detected on Friday, two additional cases were confirmed over the weekend, leading Property Appraiser Jay Gardner to close the office on the second floor of the Government Services Building in Bunnell all week.
Gardner said at least three people were confirmed positive in an office of 25 employees (other employees work in the field and are not affected), though he said “that number could be wrong because some of them might not have told us.” Gardner himself was getting tested Wednesday afternoon. He spoke of a “tickle” in his throat but attributed it more to likely allergies than to the virus.
“We’re using new software, we’re training, it wiped out most of my office,” Gardner said. “It stinks and it’s the world we live in but we should be back in the saddle on Monday.”
There should be no danger of exposure to the public, even those who were in the office before the shut-down, Gardner said, because the office’s personnel long before Covid was partitioned with glass, and office personnel wears masks.
He said 100 percent of the traffic right now is from people filing their homestead exemption, which affords a $50,000 exemption on the taxable value of a residential property. “You do not have to file by January 1, everyone thinks that, that’s why they’re all stressing right now. They’ve got by statute until March 1 to file, but they have to own and occupy it by January 1,” Gardner said. (If you buy the house and occupy it on January 2, it’s too late for a homestead exemption.) “It you’re living there and you own it, then come see us next year, it’s no problem.”
Of the employees who have tested positive, none are experiencing particular difficulties. “Everybody is doing great,” Gardner said. “They’re sorry they have it, it’s not like it’s a vacation, they’re miserable but they’re getting better. It’s like they’re getting a cold, they’re the fortunate ones.” The property appraiser’s office is across the hallway from the Flagler Education Foundation, whose offices were open today, as were all other offices at the Government Services Building, which houses county, school board and constitutional officers’ personnel.
The property appraiser’s office was previously affected with one employee testing positive, but it did not require a shut-down. This time. Gardner got in contact with the local health department and implemented broad quarantine procedures, while county personnel carried out specialized cleaning in the office, he said.
In a plug for the coming vaccines, Gardner said he’ll be willing to get vaccinated, and publicize himself getting vaccinated, if it encourages others to do likewise. “I’m definitely not an anti-vaxxer,” he said, referring to opponents of vaccines, who use unscientific, incorrect information to claim that vaccines are harmful. Gardner recalled getting immunization for shingles. “It felt like someone beat me in the arm with a 2-by-4. Well, well worth it, because I don’t want shingles,” he said, downplaying the immediate effects of vaccination.
Mike Cocchiola says
That damnable fake virus! But at least it’s not the flu.
Here’s hoping everyone gets back to work quickly and safely.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
Jay Gardner just gets better and better as a public official. He really cares about us and now we see how much. Close down – no ands ifs or buts. Thank you Jay for being so responsible and thank you also for posting the ‘tax warning’ which has been my sore spot as a realtor for years – buyers were never told, for years, or educated on the whopping tax increase most would face ( unless they have the ‘take it with you save our homes’ which most buyers, especially first time homeowners and first Florida home owners. He has also created the most user friendly web-site , it keeps improving and he does take advice. Thank you Jay now for taking care of all of us. God Speed to your staff for full recovery and to you.
Jay Gardner…not as young as he used to be but still best looking man in Flagler County….
When will Flagler County Officials and the City of Palm Coast start taking better care of its citizens. Mask wearing should be made mandatory to keep everyone as safe as possible. Public Office Buildings are a sure way to spread this virus no one knows who is entering their buildings that have the virus.
Keep listening to Ron DeSantis like Trump they just don’t care about the safety of anyone. All they care about is themselves.
So you say the Governor doesn’t care a out the people. Really? So when they lift the memorandum for evictions, and they people will be left homeless because they can’t afford to pay their rents due to being unemployed, what do you think it’s going to happen? They will not be able to catch up on payments, and bills. So when we are all faced with a recession and we have squatters living in abandoned homes and everyone is in an uproar what are you going to do? Bitch about that. So no the Governor is not just thinking a out himself he is thinking out of the box. Maybe you should do the same. And look at the brighter side of this do some research and see how many people died of the swine flue and N1-H1 and compare to the Coronavirus maybe rhen you will get a little more educated on this whole coronavirus situation. Hope you have a great day!