NEWSBRIEF: Washington County will add staff at licensing centers


Minnesota Municipal Power Agency recently installed a solar array at North High School as part of the Hometown Solar Grant program. submitted photo

The Washington County Board of Commissioners agreed May 15 to add 6.5 fulltime positions at the county’s license centers.

Each year, Washington County license centers in Forest Lake, Stillwater and Woodbury complete approximately 300,000 license transactions on behalf of the state. Due to changes made by the state, the county’s ability to provide quality customer service at license centers has been degraded and county staff are subject to very challenging working circumstances.

In July 2017, the State of Minnesota implemented a new statewide vehicle licensing system called MNLARS. The system has been plagued with problems since the rollout. If MNLARS were working well, it would increase deputy registrar transaction times 50 percent as data entry responsibilities were transferred from the state to deputy registrars. In its current state, MNLARS is increasing deputy registrar workload 60 percent to 80 percent.

In fall 2018, the state will also implement a new driver’s license software. Along with the new software implementation, the deputy registrars will have new documentation and processing requirements related to the issuance of Real ID compliant driver licenses. Deputy registrars are also required to provide Enhanced ID services to customers. Real ID and Enhanced ID compliant driver licenses have numerous customer and staff requirements that lead to extended transaction times and further shift workload to deputy registrars.

The additional staff is needed to continue to provide license center services and improve customer service. The Legislature is considering various bills that would provide much of the funding for these positions. If the legislation is approved as drafted, the county is projected to receive $290,000 in 2018. If state funding is not provided, the funding for 2018 will come from county contingency funds.

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