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August 13, 2009

Management Contracts Awarded for License Offices in Buffalo, Butler, Mountain Grove, Nevada & Richmond

JEFFERSON CITY - Five more local motor vehicle/license offices were awarded today under Gov. Jay Nixon's new system through which the best proposals are selected by the Missouri Department of Revenue after any interested person or group is allowed to bid on the offices.

The offices awarded today are in Buffalo, Butler, Mountain Grove, Nevada and Richmond.  This brings to 58 the total number of offices granted under the new system.

The Buffalo License Office has been awarded to Scott Baker of Buffalo.  Baker has been the office's contract agent since 2005. The office will remain at 945 W. Dallas St.

Blen Enterprises, LLC, associated with Marli Klumb of Butler, has been awarded the right to operate the license office in Butler.  The company is a new agent for the office, which will remain at 1 N. Delaware St.

Britney Michel, doing business as Mountain Grove License Office, has been chosen to operate the license office in Mountain Grove.  Michel, of Mountain Grove, has been the incumbent agent since 2008.  The office will stay at its current location of 807 N. Main St., Suite 5.

Alternative Opportunities Inc., a not-for-profit corporation based in Springfield, is the new agent for the Nevada License Office.  The Nevada office, which will move to a new location at 429 E. Walnut St., has been closed since July 30 due to the voluntary retirement of the previous agent.

The Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce is the new agent for the Richmond License Office.  The chamber also currently operates the Lexington License Office.  The Richmond office will stay at its current location of 904 E. South St.

Details about any changes in office operations, if any, will be announced by the agents.

The five offices awarded today are the latest to have their management chosen using a comprehensive bidding process that was implemented when Gov. Nixon took office on Jan. 12.  The process calls for people or groups to submit detailed bids to obtain the management contracts to operate the offices.  The Buffalo License Office received one bid; Butler, Mountain Grove and Richmond received two bids; and Nevada received four bids.

This new process was codified in state law when Gov. Nixon signed legislation on July 1 that made the new system a permanent part of state law.  The bill endorsing the change passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities in the Missouri Senate and House.

"In the past, politics was usually the main consideration when awarding local license offices," Gov. Nixon said. "Now, customer service and efficiency of operations are the most important criteria, and politics is not considered at all. That is a vast change from the past, and it is a change that has been long overdue."

Alana M. Barragán-Scott, acting director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, also noted the openness of the new bidding process.

"The new system is open, honest and transparent," she said.  "Any interested person or group is now able to bid to run an office.  In addition, once a winning bid is selected, the evaluation sheets for both the winning and losing bids are open for public inspection."

Some winning bidders have chosen to return part of their estimated office revenues to the state.  The Buffalo License Office will return one-half of 1 percent ($502) of its first-year revenues, Butler will return 3 percent ($3,021),  Mountain Grove will return one-half of 1 percent ($433), Nevada will return 5 percent ($6,649), and Richmond will return 3 percent ($2,690).  The cumulative amount of estimated funds that will be returned to the state in the first contract year from the 58 license offices that have been awarded so far is $376,910.

"The willingness of agents to return some of their revenues is a great cost-efficiency measure for the state, and the amount returned to the state will undoubtedly grow as more bids are awarded," Barragán-Scott said.  "This money, once kept as profits by office operators, will now be able to be used for a variety of vital state services."

Of the 183 license offices, 58 have been awarded and the bidding time has closed for another 83.  For a list of winning bidders for license offices, please go to http://oa.mo.gov/purch/awardedfeeoffices.pdf.

All local license offices provide services that are overseen by the Missouri Department of Revenue, but each office is operated by an independent contractor.  Transactions that are conducted at these offices include the issuance and renewal of driver licenses, applying for titles for motor vehicles, and the issuance and renewal of registration for motor vehicles, boats and outboard motors.

Additional information on the bids will be posted by the Missouri Office of Administration within the next few days.