Lines shortening outside the Minnehaha County administration building

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — South Dakotans who didn’t get around to renewing their licenses at the start of the pandemic in March have until Friday to get it done. But even with that deadline rapidly approaching, lines outside the Minnehaha County Administration building haven’t been as long as before. Wait times have been reduced from several hours, to less than an hour.

People bracing to wait for hours outside of the Minnehaha County administration building say they are pleasantly surprised at how quickly they’ve been moving through the line.

“I was probably waiting 20-minutes expecting a longer line. You can see it’s starting to get longer from when we got here. And people are still doing what they need to do,” Dale Wendroth of Sioux Falls said.

COVID-19 closed county offices early-on in the pandemic. Since reopening, Treasurer Pam Nelson says her staff is now getting caught up with the backlog of vehicle registrations and title transfers, so wait times are around 45-minutes, or less.

“In the beginning, when COVID, when we came back after COVID, the wait times were three-and-a-half, four hours, and the lines were clear up to the courthouse, you don’t see that today,” Minnehaha County Treasurer Pam Nelson said.

“I figured the line would be longer since I didn’t get here until a little after nine, but it wasn’t so bad,” Tami Leih of Sioux Falls said.

The South Dakota DMV has installed a kiosk in the lobby of the administration building where people can pick up their vehicle tags without having to wait in line. But it’s taken some time for people to get used to using this new machine.

“It takes a while for people to get used to doing it. I think it helps a little,” Nelson said.

Nelson says a larger staff for her office would go a long way toward speeding up the process and ease any pandemic-related backlogs in the future. But for now, people will still need to take their place in line and wait, just not as long as before.

“You just take one person at a time,” Nelson said.

Nelson says more people buying new vehicles because of the low-interest rates are also adding to the long lines as her staff processes the title transfers.

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