HAMILTON COUNTY (WRCB) -- Five employees in the Hamilton County Clerk's office have lost their jobs and Bill Knowles is blaming the slow economy.

Knowles says weak fee collections forced him to lay off five deputy clerks Friday. He said, "The continuing loss of fees resulting from a slowed vehicle transaction market, the reduction of sales taxes collected from vehicle sales, and the looming change in business tax deposits procedures are reasons for this action.

  "It is extremely painful to be put in a position to lay off five clerks from our office. However, as a constitutional fee official it is my duty to operate the clerk's office with financial solvency. It is evident that decreased volume was contributing to our financial instability.

"Our staff has tried to provide fast service across the years. Citizens visiting us in peak periods may now experience a longer wait.  However, the existing staff will redouble their efforts to serve the public as efficiently as possible. The public may avoid peak periods occurring the first and last days of a month. This will help distribute the work load.

 "I also encourage the motoring public to continue exercising their option to simply renew a vehicle registration by visiting www.countyclerkanytime.com. It is our goal to return the registration by mail the same day it is received online—there is no line online."