Posted 12/15/10 (Wed)
By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer
Purchasing a vehicle is an exciting time, but waiting to receive the title to your new purchase can be a daunting task. But that daunting task is going to be much easier if you make your vehicle purchase in McKenzie County.
Traditionally, after purchasing a vehicle, the dealership or seller fills in the appropriate paperwork and sends it to Bismarck to be processed by the North Dakota State Treasurer’s Office, a process that can take up to eight weeks. For some people the waiting isn’t a problem. However, if you have a loan against the vehicle, the bank may be waiting for you to bring the title in, and in some cases, a vehicle owner may decide to sell the vehicle before the title has arrived.
For McKenzie County residents, the waiting is over. As part of a pilot project, the McKenzie County Treasurer’s Office has begun printing titles right here in Watford City.
“The only difference in getting your title in Watford City versus from Bismarck is time savings,” says Linda Svihovec, McKenzie County Treasurer. “Prior to printing titles here, all of our paperwork was sent to Bismarck where it was reviewed and then title printing was done in batches, which is where the eight-week delay came from.”
Having titles printed in the county just started, but the process goes all the way back to 1999.
“A group of county treasurers from across North Dakota first approached the legislature in 1999 with the idea of North Dakota Treasurer’s Offices providing motor vehicle registration services,” adds Svihovec. “The thought was that this would not only provide a much needed service closer to home for local residents, but also help balance the work load in the Treasurer’s office during the year.”
In 1999, McKenzie County, along with Emmons and Bowman counties were chosen as the first pilot counties because they border Montana and South Dakota, states which already provided motor vehicle services from their county treasurers’ offices.
“A branch fee is charged based on the service provided and set by the state’s maximum fee schedule for branch offices,” comments Svihovec. “Those fees are retained by the county in its general fund and help offset the cost of providing the service.”
Although motor vehicle registrations have been handled locally since 1999, the state of North Dakota has not until recently allowed title printing at branch offices because of the complexity and importance of vehicle titles.
“McKenzie County was chosen as one of two counties in the state to add title printing because of the low error rate in the office,” states Svihovec.
According to Svihovec, motor vehicle registration services in the McKenzie County Treasurer’s office equal approximately 75 percent of the work load of both Bonnie Johnsrud, deputy and Marlyn Berquist, clerk.
“The increase in oil activity has really increased the demand for these services,” adds Svihovec. “We see approximately 150 registration renewals and 215 title transfers per month in our branch office.”
With added training and continued hard work by the McKenzie County Treasurer’s Office, residents can be hopeful that this added service will continue to be available right here at home.