April 25, 2014

County approves additional funds for DMV services

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
County commissioners reluctantly voted to allocate $305,000 from county reserves to the county branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The funding will fund new positions, additional security at the DMV provided by the county sheriff’s office and miscellaneous expenditures related to a state project to upgrade the DMV’s computer system last summer.
The software upgrades went live on May 6 and wait times for licensing and tag renewals sky rocketed.
“This level of service was deemed unacceptable and efforts were made to address these issues,” a briefing sheet to the board for the expenditure reads.
Commissioners unanimously approved the expenditure.
However, many expressed their continued dismay with the software upgrade that resulted in longer wait times and increased expenses.
“As a county, we need to draw a line in the sand,” commissioner Jim Allen said. “We send more money to the sate than anyone else… I think the state of Kansas needs to realize Johnson County has limits, too.”
County Chair Ed Eilert said money collected at the DMV needs to stay with the department. Specifically, he cited a $4 modernization fee the DMV collects.
“Six million of those fees were swept into the state and spent somewhere else,” Eilert said. “…That’s money that should be used to support their efforts.”
Earlier this year, the department temporarily waived additional fees charged to online tag renewals, and Allen said those fees should be eliminated to reduce staff time at county offices.
“The state of Kansas needs to drive business to the most cost efficient way,” Allen said.
Commissioner Calvin Hayden, who represents Gardner and Edgerton on the board, renewed calls to pressure the state of Kansas to offer Johnson County a refund for the costs it incurred due to the software upgrade.
Commissioner Jason Osterhaus echoed the sentiments of other board members.
“I’m as frustrated as everyone else on this board,” he said. “We need to right this ship.”
In other business, board of county commissioners:
• authorized an agreement between the city of Edgerton and the county for law enforcement services for 2013. Under the agreement, Edgerton will pay $256,034 and up to $5,000 for overtime expenses for the county sheriff’s office to provide police services in the community.
• approved the cancellation of outstanding county-issued checks that are at least two years old.
• approved the re-zoning, preliminary and final plat of a 5.4 acre site at 110 S. Frank Street in Spring Hill from rural district to planned research, development and light industrial park district.

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