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Santa Barbara County Clerk-Recorder To Close Lompoc Branch Office

After this week's shut down, services will only be available at the Santa Barbara and Santa Maria offices

The Lompoc branch Clerk-Recorder’s Office is closing this week because of financial and staffing challenges, officials said. Click to view larger
The Lompoc branch Clerk-Recorder’s Office is closing this week because of financial and staffing challenges, officials said.  (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara County will cut some services to Lompoc residents, effective Thursday, with the closure of the Clerk-Recorder’s Office in the North County community.

The closure of the Lompoc branch office at 401 East Cypress St. will send residents to offices in Santa Maria or Santa Barbara to obtain marriage licenses, and require them to submit notarized requests for copies of vital records such as birth, death and marriage certificates by mail.

The upcoming closure was announced by County Clerk, Recorder and Assessor Joseph Holland’s office last month, according to Melinda Greene, chief deputy clerk-recorder. 

The closure is a cost-savings move, Greene said, and the result of difficulties staffing the Lompoc branch office three days a week.

“The Lompoc office hasn’t been financially viable for years,” Greene said. "Recently, due to staffing shortages, we’ve had staffing challenges. That escalated the decision.

“We want to provide a counter for the public, but more and more people are doing services online or by mail. The problem is the cost to run the office becomes too expensive.”

Greene said the savings from closing the Lompoc office was unknown at this time.

“It’s difficult to say until we completely close out the office. But it’s not just a money issue. We’ve been challenged to provide staffing in the Lompoc office.” 

The Lompoc office has been staffed by four employees, based in Santa Barbara, who rotated working in Lompoc on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Greene said. 

Mayor Bob Lingl said he was disappointed the Lompoc office will close to the public and plans to object to the closure. 

“I’m very disappointed. However, this does not come as a big surprise. The county has been struggling with budgets for the last several years,” Lingl said. “It would have been more significant if technology didn’t allow most things to be done online.”

“I will be drafting a letter to Santa Barbara County expressing our disappointment, and asking them to reconsider. We are the third largest city in the county. We deserve services.”

The county previously proposed cutting clerk-recorder services in Lompoc in 2012, with plans to limit office days to Mondays only. The proposal was rescinded by Holland after protests from the community and then-Fourth District County Supervisor Joni Gray. 

Fourth District County Supervisor Peter Adam, whose district includes Lompoc, could not be reached for comment. 

The Clerk-Recorder’s Office records, maintains and issues copies of vital records, such as birth, death and marriage certificates, as well as some property and business records. Information and forms are available online at SBCRecorder.com.

After Thursday, Lompoc residents can access clerk-recorder services as follows:

»  At branch offices in Santa Maria, 511 E. Lakeside Parkway, Suite 115, and in Santa Barbara, Hall of Records, 1100 Anacapa St. Both offices are open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

»  Marriage licenses: Applications must be completed in person, with valid photo identification, in the Santa Maria or Santa Barbara branch offices. 

»  Fictitious-business-name statements: Forms are available online and can be finalized and paid for via mail. 

»  Copies of birth, death and marriage certificates: Can be requested via mail or fax, but must be signed and notarized by a notary public. 

Lompoc residents can call 805.568.2250 for more information about county clerk-recorder services, Greene said.

The closure affects the clerk-recorder services only, Greene said. The elections and assessor offices will continue to operate in Lompoc, but the office is not open to the public on an ongoing basis.

County assessor services can be scheduled in Lompoc by appointment only by calling 805.568.2550. 

The County Elections Office will be open to the public from Oct. 10 through the general election on Nov. 8, from 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4 p.m.

Noozhawk contributing writer Carol Benham is a longtime local journalist who lives in Lompoc. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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