Johnson County leaders petition Gov. Brownback to help with DMV debacle

OLATHE, Kan. - As the Kansas DMV debacle enters its third month after a $40 million computer system upgrade, Johnson County's Board of Commissioners is asking Gov. Sam Brownback for help.

For weeks, county treasurers have essentially begged customers to use mail or online options for vehicle renewals instead of creating to the logjams at offices.

However, there is a transaction fee for using credit cards or electronic checks. Commissioners want those fees waived until the kinks in the new system are finally fixed.

Commissioners are sending a letter to Brownback, which addresses that request, along with a few other items.

Commissioners are also asking for a timelier state insurance database. Some customers have been unable to renew their tags online because the system is unable to verify current insurance information.

Finally, Johnson County wants permission for its own IT employees to "peek behind the curtain" and see if they can offer insight on some of the ongoing bugs and delays associated with the new system.

On Thursday, commissioners and county treasurer Tom Franzen devoted a large chunk of a board meeting discussing DMV issues (in what's become a weekly agenda item).

They initially voted to draft a letter to Brownback and approve it at the next meeting. However, that was not fast enough for some commissioners, who insisted it be completed on Friday.

"I don't know if you remember the Far Side cartoon where there are two buzzards sitting on a tree," said Calvin Hayden, a sixth-district commissioner. "One of the buzzards says, ‘Patience? I'm ready to kill something now.' I'm kind of to that point. I feel like whatever we can do, let's do it now because I'm tired of waiting and I'm sure our residents are, too."

According to Franzen, Johnson County taxpayers were charged roughly $630,000 in the credit card transaction fees last year.

Franzen, county administrators and commissioners met with Department of Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan to discuss some of the ideas earlier in the week.

You can watch the entire DMV-related conversation here .

Ryan Kath can be reach at ryan.kath@kshb.com. You can also follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Facebook.

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