Jones County: Renewing License Online May Cost Taxpayers More
By Forrest Saunders, Reporter
ANAMOSA, Iowa – The Jones County Treasurer Amy Picray said they’re missing out on state money every time people renew a driver’s license online, and taxpayers could be making up the difference.
“If they renew online, we don’t receive any of that—we don’t receive any revenue,” said Picray.
Jones County is one of 81 in Iowa that get a $7 state reimbursement for every license renewed at their office. The county’s reimbursements totaled about $49,000 in the last fiscal year. Picray said that money is used to pay for part of the cost of having their driver’s license service, with the rest paid by county property taxes.
This week, the state instituted a new online system and isn’t handing out reimbursements for any renewals done through their website. It’s a concern for Picray who said the cost of the driver’s license service will now have to depend on their other revenue stream.
“So, the less reimbursement we receive from the state of Iowa, the more that gap has to be made up by property tax dollars,” said Picray.
The treasurer put out a plea on Facebook Thursday, asking people to come into their office instead of using the web: “In order to help reduce the shift of this expense to Jones County property owners, we encourage you to renew your driver’s license in our office, and not online!”
The post convinced Jones County resident Dona Beltz to come in and renew after losing her license at the fair.
“I’d rather have the money stay here in Jones County, versus going elsewhere. And that keeps our property taxes down,” said Beltz.
Still, it looks to be an uphill battle for the county. The state's website offers more accessibility and takes less time to renew. But, the county said they have their charms.
“We provide great customer service. I feel it’s a high level of customer service and the legislator and the state doesn’t appreciate or compensate that,” said Picray.
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