From Staff Reports
Ste. Genevieve County will soon have a license office again.
While the exact time line is not yet certain, Dena Kreitler, executive director of the Ste. Genevieve Chamber of Commerce, was informed late last week that the protest filed by one of the losing bidders for the license office contract had been denied.
“At this time we do not have an opening date for the office,” Kreitler said in a post on the Chamber’s Facebook page. “However, we are working very hard and very fast with the Department of Revenue to ensure that our office is open in a timely manner. Please understand and try to be patient with us.”
It will also be moving from its former location at Pointe Basse Plaza, “to better accommodate our needs and the communities needs.” Kreitler told the Herald Saturday that renovation of the new location “is going well.”
The Chamber was initially awarded the contract after a months-long process, in early September. It had just wrapped up the hiring process for the two full-time employees, when License Office Services (LOS) of Jefferson City, who ranked last among the five applicants in the point ranking, protested the selection.
“We had announced the hires, then were told we were being protested,” Kreitler said at the time of the early-October protest. “We had to halt everything.”
Now that the protest is denied, the Chamber is back at work, preparing to take over the office.
“Our staff will be new, and we will be required to undergo several hours of training before we can open our doors,” the Facebook post said.
Kreitler said Saturday that the month-long hold-up had not cost them their chosen employees.
“We reached back out to them and made offers,” Kreitler said. “Fortunately for us, they were still interested.”
Names of the personnel, as well as the location of the new office and an opening date will all be released at a later date, she said.
The Facebook post also noted that the primary goal “is to provide an efficient service in our community, with a very customer service driven staff.”
The office has been closed since mid-March, causing county motorists to either renew licenses and tags online, or to go to other locations, like Festus or Perryville. Those locations, meanwhile, were getting backed up by the overflow of Ste. Genevieve County residents. It also drove revenue out of the county.
“Keeping your dollars local during this pivotal time was a big priority for us, one that we can happily say we will do,” the post continued. “Thank you all for being patient, we thoroughly understand what an inconvenience this has been.”
Kreitler added on Saturday that she is “very appreciative of everyone’s patience,” and that she is confident the new operation “will be something the community can be proud of.”
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 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 four other entities.