To the Editor:
I am writing this to clarify some misconceptions about the state license offices.
All 180 plus license offices in the state, with the exception of the main office in Jefferson City, are operated by independent contractors. We are neither state employees nor are we paid by the state in any way.
Our income comes solely from fees paid for the services we provide. These fees are set by the state legislature.
Currently a one-year license plate renewal fee is $3.50 and $7 for two years. Processing a title brings in $2.50. Other transactions have the same or similar rates. These rates were last set in 1998.
House Bill 584 will bring the current plate renewal fees to $6 and $12.00 respectively and titles also to $6.00. Basically, we are hoping to bring the fees up to $6.00 across the board.
I have heard that Mr. [Joe] Rozier operated the license office as a not-for-profit company and had all volunteer help. I am not privy to his financial situation and have no direct knowledge of his operation of the license office. Maybe some of you do.
Mr. [John] Stuppy seems to be concerned about the management of the license office. I wonder if he charges 1998 rates for towing, pays 1998 rates to his employees and sells his vehicles for 1998 prices. The rent on the office increased $200 per month the day we moved in.
Costs have constantly increased for all of us. My favorite McDonald’s meal went up 66 cents in the last six months.
Now for more realities. We were the only bidders for the Ste Genevieve License Office in 2016.
Had we not bid, there would not be a license office here. The only expense an office contractor has any control over is labor. Most people starting a business or a new job expect to make money, right? I could increase my income by cutting my employees’ hours and pay. Then you will get what you get in most license offices — crabby clerks, long wait times and your stress levels increased. I can’t work like that.
Without an increase I will not try to renew my contract. Not a threat, just the way it is. If some of you feel the rates would be too high, consider this. What will it cost in time and fuel to travel to the nearest office. What if you don’t have some needed document? I don’t want to make the drive either.
I ask you to support House Bill 584 by calling State Representative Dale Wright at 573-751-3455 and State Senator Gary Romine at 573-751-4008 asking them to support this bill.