The Carver County Commissioners held a special meeting recently regarding the Deputy Registrar Reimbursement Grant. This grant was created in response to the poor implementation of the Minnesota License and Registration System (MNLARS) when it launched its website back in 2017. The state legislature is allowing $13 million for all affected license centers.
While renewing licenses and registration has always been a bit of a hassle, considering how limited physical locations are to do so, MNLARS created a website to assist people and hopefully streamline the process. This didn’t go over well, as there were several delays and incorrect information abound with the new website. Because of this, the legislature granted $13 million for lost revenue, according to David Frischmon, part of Property and Financial Services.
“There were a number of days we couldn’t even be open because of the software conversion,” he said. “Days that we were open, there were plenty of times we didn’t have the ability to handle transactions because there were problems with the software or it was very slow. It was a very inefficient roll out of the process.”
These aren’t the only costs associated with this change, either. Overtime hours as well as other extra work have been accounted for as well. The reason this took over a year is it was vetoed during a previous legislature, according to Frischmon. Now that it’s back and approved on the state level, all that’s left is to accept the grant, which needs to be accepted by the end of June, hence a special commissioner meeting.
Once accepted, the county will receive $91,564 for the Chanhassen License Center and $66,486 for the Chaska center, amounting just over $158,000 for the lost revenue. The check would come within the next 30 days, and the money, since it wasn’t part of the budget, would go into the county savings for later use at the license center.
While this certainly has caused delays, Frischmon did speak on how else the centers plan on making the hassle of renewal even more efficient. New forms of training, a fulltime greeter, and testing their own software are hopefuls for getting the lines moving faster. This would hold the centers over until the legislature reveals the new MNLARS process, whether that’s improving the current system or turning it into a more private system.
And though the software is now more cooperative and working better, the workload has also increased in general, according to Frischmon, which is why the centers are still seeking improvements from the state and within its own systems. Commissioner Gayle Degler also added to this, stating that the county hears the community and their frustrations with the centers, but must work with what they have, which is why the county is also seeking in how to improve the situation at the license centers.
The accepting of the reimbursement grant was approved unanimously by the commissioners in attendance, with Chair Randy Maluchnik and Commissioner Tim Lynch absent for this meeting.