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WICHITA, Kansas – Jennifer Miller’s recent trip from Derby to the Harvey County Treasurer’s office in Newton for driver’s license services brought a bit of a surprise.
“I didn’t feel like I was creating any more work for them, so I was curious on why there was an additional fee because I’m asking for a state of Kansas driver’s license, not a Harvey County driver’s license,” said Miller.
Three counties bordering Sedgwick charge a fee to non-residents to get driver’s licenses and other DMV services.
Sumner County tacks on a $10 fee.
If you go to El Dorado in Butler County, they’ll charge you $15 more, and at the Harvey County office, they recently imposed a $20 fee for non-residents.
Under state law, the counties are within their rights.
“The county treasurers have opted to offer limited driver’s license services such as renewals or they can do ID cards, and it’s just an additional way to serve their customers. In those offices, the county treasurers are allowed to set their own fees,” said Jeannine Koranda, Kansas Department of Revenue.
Harvey County says the fees go to the general fund to help their bottom line due to the extra work to process requests by non-residents.
A backlog created by an uptick in teen drivers and concealed carry permit requests.
“There’s been a significant increase in the amount of business that we’ve had coming in and those are extra people coming in line, and it makes the wait longer, mostly because of extra people in line conducting business,” said Koranda.
Miller says despite the added cost, it was worth it for faster service.
“Service with a smile. They were so good to us out there, and it’s two people. I don’t understand how Harvey County can function with two people more efficiently than Wichita can.”
All driver’s license offices run by the state, like the ones in Wichita and Andover, do not charge this fee.
Only offices run by individual counties can charge fees to non-residents.
Other neighboring offices like the ones in Kingman, Harper and Cowley counties have not pursued a non-resident driver’s license fee.