City hall hours change Aug. 6
On Aug. 6, Oberlin City Hall will change hours in an attempt to better serve residents and contractors doing work in the city.
Currently the office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., but after the change the hours will be from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
“The (city’s) finance department brought this up initially because the finance office staff works closely with our water and electric utilities staff with service orders every day. Because of the hours the utilities work, they realized that if the two offices were more closely aligned they could coordinate a little better and that would be a positive for them,” said city manager Eric Norenberg.
The more the city staff discussed the idea, it was realized that many customers come to the doors of the finance office between 8 and 8:30 a.m., according to Norenberg.
“They’re trying the door and realizing nobody is there and then they stick their payment in the slot,” he said.
Further discussion also brought to light that the office is usually pretty quiet during the last half hour of the day, Norenberg said.
In a memo from the city’s finance director Sal Talarico to city council, he agreed.
“After considering this proposal for several weeks and reviewing past workload analysis, it seems apparent that the slowest half-hour of the work day is 4:30 to 5 p.m.,” Talarico said. “In the past, City Hall administrative staff have tracked customer calls and visitors for other purposes. We have found that mornings are generally busier as contractors come in seeking permits and inspections.”
Norenberg also said that non-city hall divisions of the city’s workforce generally begin the workday between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. The feeling of city staff is that aligning the work hours between city hall and the rest of the staff will offer more time for coordination and still be able to serve walk-in traffic.
Additionally, city staff researched other governments and institutions in the area and found that many operate on an 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. schedule. According to Talarico’s memo they include the main offices of Lorain County, state offices — including the district ODOT district in Ashland and the Ohio Department of Development in Columbus — Lorain County Health Department, and Metro Parks.
The memo further stated that Mercy Allen Hospital and Oberlin College also have similar office hours.
The city is planning on getting the word out to residents about the change through a number of different ways. Norenberg said the website will be updated with the new hours, door signs outside the buildings, as well as a notice being placed in the August utility bill.
“So far we haven’t heard any negative comments about the change,” Norenberg said.