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Davison Co. license plate terminal has strong first year

The inaugural year of Davison County's self-service vehicle registration terminal has been deemed a success.

More than 1,000 drivers renewed their license plate tabs using the system in 2013, according to data provided to the Davison County Commission during its regular meeting Tuesday at the courthouse in Mitchell.

Combined with the internet renewal system, the self-service terminal collected $118,422.87 in renewal revenue.

The county receives about 37 percent of the total tab sales. In 2013, Davison County received $43,520.40 through its share from the tab sales from the internet and the terminal, which is located at County Fair Food Store on Havens Avenue in Mitchell. It began operating in January 2013.

The terminal had its best months in June, November and December, with more than $20,000 brought in during June and about $15,000 taken in during both November and December. Davison County Treasurer Christie Gunkel said the summer surge can be attributed to a price increase for renewals that went into effect on July 1 but didn't have an explanation for late November or December. She said it's possible the high registration numbers could be tied to last names starting with letters T-Z, which renew in November.

"I'm not exactly sure why that is, but there's a lot of names that start with those letters," she said.

For a two-week span ending Dec. 6, the systems took in $13,187.63 on renewals and $4,671.46 was collected for the county. In the renewal cost for a driver, 22.5 percent of each renewal goes to the county's road and bridge account, while 14 percent goes to the county's special highway fund and a quarter of a percent goes to a county supply fee account. The remaining 63 percent goes to the state.

In all, the county had 593 renewals over the internet and 1,039 renewals at the self-service terminal at County Fair. The machine has had a few glitches, but Gunkel said that the high number of complaints when the machine was down for a few days last year tells her that the machine gets a lot of use.

"There's a lot of people using it," Gunkel said. "I think it has gone well."

Davison County Commission Chairman John Claggett said the terminal has been a successful example of the county making use of technological advances.

"The nice thing is that they can be used 24/7," Claggett said. "Technology will help government meet the needs of the public and this is a great example of that."

The terminal allows vehicle owners to register up to 90 days before and 30 days after expiration of their current license tags. Customers pay a $2 transaction fee when using the terminal, which is split between the location's vendor and the credit card company. Vehicle owners from any county can use the terminals, which are also located in Aberdeen, Brookings, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown and Yankton.

Road weight limits

As is a rite of spring, the Davison County Commission approved road weight limits for the county's roads, starting next week.

The county approved a resolution restricting county roads to trucks weighing no more than 6 ton per axle or 80,000 gross pounds on oil roads, effective Monday March 17. The truck speed limit will be 40 miles per hour.

Excluded from load limit restrictions are 254th Street (Highway 16) from the Aurora County line to Mitchell, 397th Avenue from I-90 to Mount Vernon and Betts Road from 255th Street to I-90 and from 254 Street to the unincorporated town of Betts. Trucks on those roads will have to observe a 40 mph speed limit, according to the resolution. The road leading to the Poet Ethanol plant near Loomis — 247th Street — will be posted as an eight-ton per axle road and will have a 40 mph speed limit for the four miles stretch between Highway 37 and the ethanol plant. Davison County Commission Chairman John Claggett said following the meeting that the annual restriction process is one that depends on precipitation and temperature. Last year, the county posted weight limits March 12, so the county has been consistent in timing.

"It's a common occurrence for us and they'll be in place until (Highway Superintendent) Rusty (Weinberg) gives us the high sign to lift the restrictions," Claggett said. Claggett said the restrictions are similar to what the county has had in place in the past.

Other business

In business Tuesday, the commissioners:

• Approved a variance request regarding 10.79 acres from Jeff and Mary Hohn to create a lot size of 14.21 acres in Section 1 of Baker Township.

• Held an executive session with Davison County Sheriff Steve Brink regarding personnel.

• Heard a nuisance property complaint regarding the lot of a Mitchell man, who has many old cars on his property that don't run and doesn't comply with laws requiring cars to be either licensed or running. A planning and zoning representative said they would check on the matter.

• Approved three plats as recommended by the county planning and zoning board, including two a couple of miles north of Mitchell in Sections 18 and 21 of Perry Township and three miles north of Ethan in Section 1 of Rome Township.