Department of Motor Vehicles satellite offices on both sides of the state line still have long lines of frustrated taxpayers. The nightmare started when the offices reopened after the COVID-19 shutdown.
Three months closed, a fourth of the year, created a tsunami of people trying to get renewals, driver’s licenses and other substantial business caught up. The Missouri DMV first set up by appointment only accessed on-line and the first three weeks were scheduled in less than two days.
After the first couple of weeks, the DMV finally started allowing taxpayers to register their cell phone at the front door and wait in their car until called. The DMV tracked the cell phone, and if it left the area to go to a bathroom or get something to eat, they got dropped off the list.
Offices opened at 9 a.m. and closed by 3 p.m. If they texted you, you had two minutes to get to the front door, or you were turned away regardless of how long you had waited. You might be surprised at the fluent language you can produce when mightily wronged at the door.
There were no restrooms or port-a-potties, some people waited until 2:45 to be called. Desperate people waited during thunderstorms with lightning, with little children, under umbrellas if they were lucky.
The DMV offices are contracted to some well-heeled person or persons by the reigning political party in the Missouri House and Senate. Nepotism at it’s finest. So no one cares that taxpayers are still suffering grievous heat and storm weather conditions even now.
We had two vehicles that required license renewal during the shut-down. We received a post card about 60 days before the due date from the DMV that provided information on how to go online and renew your plates, to be mailed to you. Go to www.plates.mo.gov. The post card provided the website to be accessed with instructions on what information would be required. The card provides a pin number for personal access. Even if you didn’t receive a card, you can still register and pay online, at odd hours of the day or night.
If your vehicle has under 150,000 miles, an inspection sticker is not required. The DMV has access to the personal property tax records of all counties, and checks themselves to verify you are current. You certify you have current automobile insurance. They indicate the fees due for one or two year renewal, you have to add $5 if you are late. You pay the fee either by credit or debit card, however, credit cards should be safer. It may have cost us additionally for postage, but in truth, to miss the Dante Decent into Hades was worth every penny. We received our new plates within three to four weeks.
Our near fatal mistake was purchasing a new vehicle that had to be registered with sales tax. This is when we got to participate and watch the daily torture. Actually, that could have been done online, they can also calculate the amount owed per county and city. On the next-to-the-last day the sales tax was due, we waited from 9 a.m. until 2:45 pm to be called in.
Generally, we are prone to want local access to large business entities. However, the morass created starting with the COVID-19 would actually save taxpayer money by reducing offices AND shore up the United States Postal Service. Maybe not what you want to hear, but it is poetic justice.
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