By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Ste. Genevieve County drivers will not have to go out of county to renew drivers licenses or license plates much longer.
Dena Kreitler executive director of the Ste. Genevieve Chamber of Commerce, announced Friday that the state of Missouri has awarded the license office contract to the chamber.
The chamber was one of five entities bidding for the contract.
“They didn’t tell us the decision was made until yesterday,” Kreitler said on Friday. “We got a phone call that we were indeed chosen as agent.”
No date has been set as to when the office will reopen. It has been closed since mid-March.
“There’s a transition process we have to go through with the previous contractor,” Kreitler explained.
“We don’t actually know the date that we open,” Kreitler said. She thought she might know a date within a week or so.
She also laid things out in a press release.
“Our goal is to provide a customer friendly and professional atmosphere for the entire Ste. Genevieve County,” Kreitler said in the release. “We realize that the void of this office for the past several months has caused quite an inconvenience, but we are working diligently to make sure that our local office is up and running in the next 45 days, adhering to the state of Missouri’s time line.
“Please bear with us as we proceed through the hiring process and transition of all services. We are dedicated to making this one of the best license offices in the region.”
PROCESS WAS LONG
Wayne Grusling decided not to renew his contract with the state to run the office. It officially expired March 29. He had already closed the office due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grusling’s Vehicle Tax Services LLC has been operating the bureau since March 2016. The state started accepting bids for a new contractor sometime in May.
Grusling later considered reapplying, but then opted not to. The chamber then filled out the 17-page application form and bid for the contract, along with about four other entities.
Things virtually ground to a halt during the summer. Increasing frustration bubbled over, due to the seeming lack of action by the Missouri Department of Revenue. Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson publicly called the long delay ridiculous.
State Representatives Dale Wright and Elaine Gannon and other elected officials kept pressure on the department and the Herald – at Nelson’s request – ran the phone number of the department, as well as the governor’s office.
Meanwhile, those not wanting to renew tags and plates online had to go to Festus, Perryville, Farmington, or points farther away.