SALEM, N.H. — Spring is normally a busy time of year at the Salem Town Hall. But since it's been closed to the public out of health concerns, it's buiser than ever for Town Clerk Susan Wall.
"It's crazy and we are short staffed," Town Clerk Susan Wall said Friday.
Between the box outside of Town Hall, her email inbox and her voicemail there's a backlog of dog licenses and car registrations, she said. As of Friday all of the transfer station permits were processed but they could receive more, she said. Wall asks for patience and understanding as they also transition into online processing of payments and services.
She and Deputy Town Clerk Jennifer Dudley are the two people employed by the town with the proper certifications to do many of the services.They are pulling in other staff to help where appropriate, but they have to do a majority of the work and have been working longer hours to do so, she said.
Her office is receiving about 200 car registrations per day, most of which are for new cars. It is currently taking about 10 to 14 days to process new registrations, she said. People can help with the process by ensuring they get the correct paperwork and payments in as requested by town staff.
There are also four boxes of dog licenses to get through, but Wall promises they are not going to be enforcing those because of the backlog currently.
Dog licenses and transfer station stickers are two main springtime license renewals that coincided with Town Hall shutting access to the public due to the coronavirus.
The process of scanning items dropped off or emailed in takes time, and Town Hall staff are getting used to the new process as well, according to Wall.
She hopes people will take advantage of the online instructions that are constantly updated by the Town Manager's office, she said. Wall is currently unable to return all of the phone calls she is receiving because the phone is ringing off the hook.
"I can't even return phone calls because I have 120-130 phone calls in my voicemail," Wall said. "When I return a call I get two or three more in my voicemail. It's one ring after another after another."
Wall apologizes for not being able to return all of the calls, "but I'm inundated. We are doing the best we can."
Detailed instructions for services offered by the Town Clerk can be found at townofsalemnh.org/town-clerk/pages/limited-access-procedures.