County considers online tag renewal

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 13, 2008

LINDEN &045; Consumers who have their cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles and other vehicles registered in Marengo County may soon have another way to renew their licenses each year.

At Tuesday’s County Commission meeting, Probate Judge Cindy Neilson presented a proposal for contracting a service that would allow Marengo County citizens to renew their vehicle tags online. Neilson said she has been working with Rudy Kaldi of IMS Enterprises out of Florence for the last year on such a system for the county.

According to Kaldi, at least 15 other counties in Alabama have used the service to allow consumers to bypass traditional methods of renewal and do it all online. To implement the system, Kaldi said there is little cost to the county.

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In other words, the county does not pay the company for the service, but rather each time a consumer uses the online renewal option for their tag, they are asked to pay a convenience fee &045; which is about $3.50 per vehicle and $2 after the first vehicle &045; to the company.

Neilson said with the price of gas continuing to rise, many Marengo County citizens are already paying that much in gas to make it to the courthouse to renew their tags in person. An added feature of the online renewal service, she noted, is that it allows the consumer up to midnight on the date of renewal to make a transaction.

As for the extra fee, which does not go to the county, Neilson said it is nominal.

Some of the questions asked by the commissioners about this new service included the amount of downtime the Web site might experience, or if there would be any reason a person’s transaction could not get through. Kaldi assured the commissioners they have had very few incidents of consumers not being able to get through.

After a motion from Commissioner Freddie Armstead, the commission approved going forward with the new service. Kaldi said the service could be up and running by April 1, but Neilson put a tentative operation date of May 1 so her staff can gain hands-on experience with the system before offering it to the public.