Leavenworth County might just be the only one of the 105 in the state of Kansas that has not yet formally or informally accepted a payment from the Kansas Department of Revenue after what one commissioner Monday called a “debacle.”
Commissioner Clyde Graeber asked for an update from staff on the efforts to recoup the total costs incurred on an ongoing basis by the county as a result of a state-led switch in local vehicle registration and licensing.
“If we don’t follow up with an additional letter to revenue, I don’t think we’re doing what we really should be doing,” he said. “I think we should follow up and demand additional payment.”
Commission Chairman John Flower said he did not disagree.
The switch went into affect for all county treasurers offices, which handle vehicle and licensing on behalf of the state, in May after the installation of a system designed by 3M. The state had contracted with 3M for the system.
Problems arose soon after the implementation of the system, with larger counties experiencing extensive lines and in some cases, turning customers away due to system slowdowns and shutdowns.
Officials at the state level eventually withheld the final payment to 3M and agreed to offer partial compensation to the counties for costs incurred as a result of the issues. Leavenworth County was sent a check for $10,500 in compensation. But commissioners, citing costs for fiscal year 2012 almost three times that amount and projected costs to keep additional needed personnel next year at about $60,000, balked at depositing the check right away.
Graeber asked if there had been any word on whether doing so would preclude the county from pursuing the full costs of the delay.
County Administrator Pat Hurley said he did not yet know whether the county would be giving up its ability to pursue further compensation from the sate. However, he said Wyandotte and Johnson counties are now reportedly preparing to have legislation introduced at the Statehouse that would allocate a portion of the fees that KDOR takes in through vehicle registrations to the counties as a continuing payment.
“We would support that legislatively, I would assume,” Hurley said.
Hurley also said he would follow up with the county’s legal counselor, David Van Parys, on whether depositing that payment from the state would prevent them from pursuing further action.