Daily Archives: Nov. 15, 2012

Valley Center student presents possible fix for long waits at DMV offices

Kayla Keith

TOPEKA – A smart phone and internet program could save Kansans a lot of time waiting in line at local DMV offices, a Valley Center High School student told state lawmakers Thursday.

Kayla Keith, a 17-year-old senior, said the state could make use of applications used by businesses such as Great Clips that allow customers to see estimated wait times and check in remotely.

“I think this is a very user-friendly solution,” she said.

Keith said she’s been talking to representatives at Innovative Computer Software, which produced the Great Clips application, and that county offices could set up services through the company.

She said a company representative said it would cost $95 a month for each location, 50 cents for each check in by users and a hardware fee of $399.

The state has already started pilot projects, including one at the state’s drivers license office in Wichita, with a similar system called QLess that allows people to get in line remotely, according to Donna Shelite, director of vehicles for the Department of Revenue.

That program allows people to call or text a number for a particular location. It then sends them a text message back that estimates their wait time.

“It’s really a slick process,” Shelite said. “I see this increasing.”

So far, the state has spent $42,000 on the system for five locations. The state also pays a monthly fee for text message services.

But the system is not available at county offices where people get titles and registrations.

Shelite said Sedgwick County officials initially felt they could create such a program on their own. But she said they haven’t yet and that she plans to meet with Sedgwick County Treasurer Linda Kizzire next week to discuss mobile systems to make things more convenient for taxpayers.

Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick and chair of the interim budget committee that heard Keith’s presentation, said that no one looks forward to getting tags or a new title because of wait times.

She commended Keith for taking the initiative to present solutions to county and state officials.

Rep. Kasha Kelley, R-Arkansas City, said the state may have to find a way to deal with providing accurate wait times because the time to process titles and registrations can widely vary. But she applauded Keith.

“This is really inspiring,” she said.

 

Key part of recently axed Main Street program created 168 jobs since 2008

TOPEKA — A primary part of the Kansas Main Street program that Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration eliminated this fall created 168 jobs since 2008, according to the Department of Commerce.

But Commerce Sec. Pat George felt the state’s other economic development programs create more jobs, said Dan Lara, spokesman for the commerce department.

The department will allow communities to use existing money through the Incentive Without Walls program that created jobs.

Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood, who is retiring from the Senate, said that eliminating the program seems inconsistent with Brownback’s effort to revitalize rural communities through incentives offered to people in the state’s Rural Opportunity Zones program.

The state has provided $3.7 million to 35 communities through the Main Street incentives program. The $982,000 spent since 2008 created 168 jobs, Lara said. It’s strongest years were 2011 and 2012, when it created 48 jobs in each year. Among those jobs were 29 in Leavenworth, 15 in Parsons, 13 in McPherson, 13 in Hutchinson and 11 in El Dorado.