Rock County prepares for extended period of MNLARS issues

Luverne, MN (KSFY) “Motor vehicle isn't a fun place to come anyway and this whole system isn't making it any easier on anybody,” Rock County Deputy Auditor/Treasurer Meg Nelson said.

Problems continue in Minnesota’s license and title registration program but lawmakers have denied any further funding.

Thursday the Minnesota State legislature denied $10 million in emergency funding to fix the MNLARS computer system for registering license plates and processing vehicle titles.

Now nearly 40 employees working to fix the issues will be without a job by the end of March, prolonging the headaches for local licensing offices.

“The most frustrating part of it is you're forced to use this system,” Rock County Auditor/Treasurer Ashley Kurtz said. “This is the only way we can do these transactions and we had no control over them rolling it out before it was ready, but here it is.”

Kurtz said her office has dealt with major issues since the $93 million system was implemented in July.

“Within a couple of days the system basically crashed, it took them quite some time to get it back up and it’s still not at 100% functionality,” Nelson said. “It will probably take another year or more for that to happen, especially with the funding being cut for that and not approved.”

This week state lawmakers denied an emergency request for funding to deal with the constant, random issues.

“For instance we have a camper that’s registered as a truck, so we can't renew that because it’s not right in the system, some things that came over from the old system that aren't correct,” Nelson said. “They’re of course getting those from every deputy in the state of Minnesota so it’s a long waiting process.”

If you buy a car in Minnesota right now, the wait time to get the title has nearly doubled, causing the state to get creative with temporary permits.

“Initially when MNLARS came out the state realized the time it was taking and they were actually allowing us to issue more than one 21-day permit,” Papik Motors Title Clerk and Warranty Administrator Pete Connell said.

Right now it’s taking roughly 12 to 15 weeks to get a title in Minnesota.

“We have a couple of applications in our vault from August that aren't completed yet,” Nelson said.
Nelson says about 20 percent of the license plate renewals still have issues that require a lot of patience.

“People know that this system is not a 100 percent functioning system right now, we do have a sign outside the door saying we're in a transition process, I don't know how long that sign is going to hang there, probable for quite a while,” Nelson said.

Rock County says it’s best to renew in person right now because the online or mail in system through the state is far too backed up.

While the wait may be long in southwest Minnesota, it’s much worse in larger counties.