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Commissioners to hear License Bureau closing time request

NEW ULM — Brown County commissioners will consider establishing a 4 p.m. cutoff time for title transfers and Real and Enhanced ID applications at the Brown County License Bureau on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

Closing time challenges and issues surrounding the motor vehicle registration system and requirements to obtain a Real or Enhanced ID require changes at the license bureau to better serve clients, according to Brown County Auditor-Treasurer (AT) Jean Prochniak.

With a 4 p.m. cutoff time for title transfers and Real and Enhanced IDs beginning Tuesday, Sept. 3, the office will be able to accept current license renewals and purchase of motor vehicle tabs through closing time that would remain at 5 p.m.

The new cutoff time would allow license bureau staff to complete work at the completion of their assigned work shift and transmit data to the State of Minnesota on a timely basis. It would allow for more flexible staff scheduling.

Other license bureau items being implemented or considered are:

• Tab renewal envelopes for next-day pickup, by return mail or inter-office delivery.

• Drop boxes.

• A license bureau triage area.

• Daily transaction accountability.

Commissioners will also:

• Receive a Tax Forfeited Lands (TFL) Fund update from Prochniak. The fund is used for necessary repairs, secure land against entry, vandalism and hazardous waste mitigation.

When George’s Ballroom came up for forfeiture in 2012, there was a concern bout building mold and asbestos. As a way to accumulate funds for mitigation, Brown County commissioners passed a resolution to withhold the distribution of TFL funds to offset remediation costs.

The mall forfeited and the ballroom forfeited for the second time in July. The AT office is attempting to determine the best solution for the two forfeited properties.

Brown County has about $20,000 invested in the two properties. Ballroom asbestos removal was estimated to cost more than $350,000. The TFL fund balance is now $198,314.63.

Prochniak said the Minnesota Office of the State Auditor (OSA) annual audit cited Brown County for not distributing TFL funds annually. She explained to the auditors that the funds are to assist counties in the maintenance and repair/demolition of TFL, which is currently being considered by her office.

Prochniak’s response to the OSA finding is that county commissioners have been made aware of the issues and anticipated fund distribution is contingent on the ballroom sale or demolition.

“I have had multiple conversations with other counties. They too, withhold funds for this purpose and do not get findings on their annual audit,” Prochniak wrote in her board request.

The board meeting begins at 9 a.m. Sept. 3 in the courthouse commissioner’s room.

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

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