New vehicle tag renewal causes feud between Kansas and counties

WICHITA, Kansas — By August 2015, the state of Kansas is expected to implement changes to the way motorists are notified that they need to renew their vehicle’s tags.

The Kansas Department of Revenue would go from mailing a renewal notice letter, to a small postcard.

“That’s really unfair to the citizens of Sedgwick County, to have to call long distance to request a form that the state has sent out for years,” said Linda Kizzire, the Sedgwick Co. treasurer.

Linda Kizzire, the Sedgwick County Treasurer, told KSN News that while the state saves money, “it’s going to impact our local budgets at the tag office, as well as county governments.”

Jeannine Koranda, the media contact for the Kansas Department of Revenue, says customers do not have to call to obtain a print out. Customers, she says, can do so for free online. That option is currently available online at www.ksrevenue.org/printrenewals. From there, customers can mail in the form, as usual.

Kizzire says the new process is an added concern for the customer service tag offices can provide for Kansas consumers.

“I think that they still need to have that renewal notice,” said Kizzire. “A lot of people have to budget their funds to buy their tags. If you receive a post card in the mail, there’s no dollar amounts on this post card.”

Kizzire tells KSN that county treasurers across Kansas have proposed redoing the form/postcard, to include additional information.

Another option?

“I’m looking into the aspect of printing our own renewals here. Of course, that costs taxpayer dollars, because we’ll have to pay for the printing, the envelopes to mail them out in, and the additional postage costs,” explained Kizzire.

The switch to postcards will save the state of Kansas about $500,000 per year.

However, county leaders across Kansas say that such a measure is simply “passing the buck” to local governments.

“Why are they running this cost down to the counties?” asked Dave Unruh, Sedgwick Co. Commissioner for the 1st District. “The people who are responsible for the program, the funding and the revenue, should take responsibility for how those services are delivered, and fund them.”

Commissioner Unruh compares the responsibility to an “unfunded mandate.”

“Trying to ring that money out of the county budget, to cover that cost… we’re going to be reluctant to pay for that when it’s a state function,” said Unruh.

County leaders insist they are obligated to providing services to their constituents.

“Even if it happens to be a state service, we’re concerned that it is provided,” continued Unruh.

Koranda says, however, that part of the $39 fee goes to counties, in the property tax function, and therefore, says it is not solely the state’s responsibility.

Koranda advises that, when Kansans receive the new postcard, that residents may want to bring the postcard in to tag offices because it, too, can still be scanned. This may speed up the process.

For more information on how to renew your tags online, visit KSWebTags.org.

To read about the Sedgwick Co. tag office, and find your location, click here.

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