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February 03, 2005



PLASKON: In the morning, long lines still form at the DMV but once inside, people like Senator Bob Beers don't have to wait as long.

BEERS: I personally did the 1 and a half minute line and it went very well."

PLASKON: One point nine minutes is the average time it takes to complete transactions on self-service kiosks that were installed at DMVs across the state in June last year. They are just one of a cadre of electronic services Nevadans are using. And though DMV offices like the one at West Flamingo serve 360-thousand customers a year, it pales to what electronic services at the DMV now handle.

LEWIS: We have finally reached the point where we can say that alternative technology solutions are outperforming any one of our metropolitan offices.

PLASKON: Speaking to a Legislative Budget Subcommittee in Las Vegas the Director of the Nevada DMV, Jenny Lewis said transactions on the internet, interactive registration renewal on the telephone and kiosks will handle a half million customers this year, a 48 percent increase over last. The more people using those services has cut wait times in half for those needing the assistance of a real person. That means the DMV won't have to build a new large office Lewis said adding that more people using the alternatives has reduced staff overtime by 68 percent. The department's income has also reached new heights. For the first time in many years, the department's budget request is below its mandated 22 percent cap of state highway funds. State Highway Funds used to be the primary source of funding, but according to Lewis nearly 50 percent of the departments budget is now coming from fees such as title and driver history print out fees paid by insurance companies. Drivers who let their insurance lapse must also pay a 250 dollar insurance reinstatement fee. That's what Lewis would like drivers to be able to pay next at the kiosk.

LEWIS: So obviously our goal is that any transaction that is occurring in our office that is simple can be handled through automated kiosks that is the goal.

PLASKON: More people are paying fees with credit cards these days. Last year drivers charged more than 138 million dollars in DMV fees to credit cards. Merchant fees to the DMV will exceed 11 million dollars. Assemblyman Lynn Hettrick said he would like to see some of the DMV fees consolidated, such as the ones for boats and trailers.

HETTRICK: It is a disaster because you have to go to one group and another and let me tell you that that was a nightmare. It would be nice to get the same kind of service.

PLASKON: Committee members also quizzed Lewis on a proposed rebate of 300 million dollars in taxes to drivers. Lewis said there are more than 54 thousand people who wouldn't get checks because of bad debt to the state. Assemblyman Morse Arberry asked how the families of those who had died would be paid. Senator Titus wondered if those is jail would be paid. But Lynn Hettric took issue with a 2.3 million dollar cost the DMV said it would incurred by sending out 2-million rebate checks to Nevadans.

ARBERRY: I have a little problem with that. I queried and told that there was 6 million dollars in programming costs to do that. We are seeing 2.3 million is going to cover it. Just for postage. And so I have real concern with what is the real cost to do this."

PLASKON: Representatives of the governors office said they may outsource the project of sending out rebate checks, and staunchly defended that rebates are the best way to refund tax dollars.

Ky Plaskon, News 88-9 KNPR.

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