County backs local license bureaus

NEW ULM — Brown County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution supporting the maintenance of local license bureaus Jan. 2.

The request, which came on a motion by Commissioner Dennis Potter, seconded by Tony Berg, supports additional compensation for deputy registrars to ensure sustainability in the new Minnesota License and Registration System (MNLARS) environment.

On July 24, the state of Minnesota launched a license and registration system that created a substantial shift of responsibilities, workload and processing times. Costs have increased and are being absorbed by local offices, which are asking for legislative support in adjusting compensation to keep local community services local and viable.

According to a Minnesota Deputy Registrars Association survey, the system still has transaction shortcomings, including revenue calculation errors and less than ideal responsiveness from the Department of Vehicle Services (DVS). Program training was insufficient, “no-fee” deputy transactions are increasing, deputy registrar costs have risen in many categories and office sustainability is collapsing.

“We have a revenue loss due to a number of things we can’t do anymore,” said Brown County Deputy Registrar Suzanne Jensen. “We’re told to mail those things to St. Paul and they’ll sit there.”

Commissioner Dennis Potter said the board definitely needs to support the resolution and send it to the Minnesota Legislature.

“I’m glad you’re moving forward with this. I totally support this,” said Commissioner Scott Windschitl.

Commissioners unanimously approved:

• Re-electing Dean Simonsen as board chairman for 2018. Commissioner Dave Borchert made a motion to elect Commissioner Dennis Potter as vice chairman but he declined, saying it was his last year on the board and he thought it would create more continuity if someone else took the position. Borchert was elected vice chairman.

• Reviewing the County Highway Department engineering projects update including projects on County Roads 11, 20, 16 and 13; bridge replacement project plan preparation in Prairieville Township and Highway 20.

• Authorizing County Attorney Charles Hanson and Court Administrator Carol Weikle to enter into a legal services contract for the Child in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS) attorneys Michael Mountain and Elizabeth Weinandt from Jan 1 to Dec. 31. Identical contracts were approved by the board in 2016 and 2017.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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