Future Of Local License Office May Depend On State Legislature

If things don’t change, most Missourians may have to drive to larger cities to renew licenses, take drivers’ tests and take care of other license-related business, the operator of the local license office warned last week.

Wayne Grusling, operator of the Ste. Genevieve License Office, told the Ste. Genevieve County Commission last Thursday that unless House Bill 584, which would increase license office fees, becomes law, he will have to close the local office.

Grusling said that once office expenses and payroll are covered, he makes “just under $6 an hour” the way things currently stand.

He had formed Vehicle Tax Services, LLC, which was awarded the management contract effective March 1, 2016, though March 29, 2020.

HB 584 would increase various fees, the first increases in 20 years. The fee on an annual registration would increase from $3.50 to $6, and a biennial would increase from $7 to $12.

Fees on title transfers and other services would increase as well.

Twenty years ago, Grusling said, the state provided equipment for the license offices and serviced it. Today, it does not.

“It doesn’t work for $6 an hour,” Grusling said.

He said if the bill does not pass, “I’m not going to stick my head in the bucket again.”

He said that fewer and fewer people are bidding to run license offices because of the shrinking profit. The offices that manage to stay open have had to cut back on staff, leading to longer lines and poorer customer service, he said.

See complete story in the April 17 edition of the Herald.

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