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Omission May Create Car Registration Confusion

July 14, 2009, 5:53 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Omission May Create Car Registration Confusion
The state motor vehicles division recently sent out 50,000 renewal cards for September. But those cards are missing a tiny piece of information reminding owners to include one dollar per vehicle to renew by mail.

The lines at the treasurer's office can get lengthy, which is why many South Dakotans choose to renew their vehicle registration through the mail. But a printing mistake has Minnehaha County Treasurer Pam Nelson worried it's going to confuse people and cause a log jam of work in her office.

“Because the phone is already ringing off the wall, and that's assuming only some of the people will call and ask. We already know that some of the people have already assumed it’s included in the increased fee they see,” Minnehaha County Treasurer Pam Nelson said.

But it's not. To renew by mail costs an extra dollar, and if that's not sent in, treasurers’ offices across the state can't process your renewal. But they will send you a letter.

"We got to spend another 42 cents just for the stamp to put on the envelope and paper and the staff time to write the letter requesting more money,” Nelson said.

In turn costing counties extra money for the state's omission. She'd like the state to resend fixed cards, but the state says they won't do that because most people don't use the mail-in option. Nelson calls that a second costly mistake.

"You know, I don't have a problem, stuff happens and people make mistakes. But if they make mistakes, they should be willing to own up to the mistakes. They should not be dumping this cost for their mistake on the backs of taxpayers in the counties,” said Nelson.

KELOLAND News spoke with the state office. They suggest that everyone try to renew online, which shows the correct fees.

The Minnehaha County Treasurer's office noticed another problem. Some commercial renewals were sent out asking for the wrong fee amount. For example, one asked for $18 instead of the correct amount of $173.

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