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Computer switch tied to delays for some Mississippi car tags

Some Mississippi drivers say they are frustrated by delays in getting license plates.

Lee County resident Norma Kolarik told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that she and her husband bought a car in May in Alcorn County. She said they couldn’t get a tag until September, and even then it took help from a state lawmaker.

“The citizens of Mississippi deserve better service from the state and its employees,” Norma Kolarik in a letter to the newspaper.

County tax collectors are attributing problems to a change in a state computer system.

The Mississippi Department of Revenue switched systems in October 2017. The department’s associate commissioner, Kathy Waterbury, said there was “a big learning curve” at first.

Waterbury said there are no current reports of unusual backlogs in processing vehicle titles.

However, Alcorn County tax collector Larry Ross said he is nearly halfway through backlog of 400 titles. Most are title transfers from Tennessee that are being flagged in Mississippi’s new system.

“We’re having to go and find each individual title,” Ross said. “It’s tedious, but we’re getting there.”

Lee County Tax Collector Leroy Belk said there are lingering issues with processing car titles and registrations.

“Tax collectors throughout Mississippi are not happy, and it’s not because we haven’t tried to be a team player,” Belk told Lee County supervisors early this month.

Waterbury said some vehicle titles can be delayed if car dealers don’t send in all the documents. Most titles are processed in three to four weeks, she said.

“We can’t do anything until we have all the documents,” Waterbury said. “If there’s a problem, the car dealers should be talking to us.”

At the Dossett Big 4 auto dealership in Tupelo, executives said they’ve seen title wait times improve with the new state computer system. The dealership started filing electronically into the system in January, said Rudy Dossett III.

“Before that, it would take forever,” Dossett said. “Now I’m not hearing any complaints. If anything was wrong, I would.”

Bill Goff at Victory Auto Sales in Mooreville said he continues to have problems. He has been waiting on titles for a batch of five he submitted Aug. 24.

He said delays worry customers and can cause trouble with financing companies. Goff said: “It’s really frustrating.”


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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

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