By MARK EVANS
After more than nine months, the Ste. Genevieve County License Office is open for business this week.
A ribbon-cutting and private open house was held at the new 753 Ste. Genevieve Avenue location Dec. 30 as final preparations were being made for a Jan. 4 opening.
Crystal Ogden, who had previously spent nearly 15 years as an administrative assistant at Earthworks, is the office manager. Tiffany Naeger is the other full-time staff member, while Kara Glass will work part time.
“I’m very excited that we could get open,” Ogden said. “The community needed it for a long time.”
Ogden believes they will offer good service.
“I think we have a very good staff,” she said. “All of us are brand new. We’re excited to get started.”
The Missouri Department of Revenue has put the staff through extensive training to prepare to take over the office.
“We’ve had training,” Ogden said. “We just hope the community understands and is patient with us because it’s all a learning process for all of us.”
She said on Dec. 30 that she felt the crew would be ready this week.
“We’ve got a few minor things [to work out],” she said. “Hopefully it will all be done over the weekend.”
Dena Kreiter, executive director of the Ste. Genevieve Chamber of Commerce, which won the bidding competition to get the contract to run the office, has helped shepherd things along.
“It’s definitely been interesting to set this office up,” she said. “We’ve learned a lot. So far, with our progress, we’re very pleased with the way it’s all kind of come together. We’re just anxious to get it open to the community.”
Linda Owens, field coordinator for the Missouri Department of Revenue, has been at the office, helping the staff get started. Kreitler said Owens will probably be here the first two weeks.
“She’ll be here the first and probably the second week,” Kreitler said. “Then, she will pop in, probably on a regular basis, just to check in on us and make sure our inventory is in check.
“If we have any questions, we can always call her. She would be the first point of contact. She’s like our direct line to the Department of Revenue.”
Kreitler and the license office staff were eager to get going. Yet, some butterflies were still felt.
“We’re a little bit nervous, but we feel like we’ve got a really good operation set up here and I feel like we’re going to do really well,” Kreitler said. “We just hope the community is patient with us; we’re all new. They’re going to come in and see the office and hopefully enjoy what they see and hopefully our service will be top-notch as well.”