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July 07, 2009

Competitive Process Determines Management Contracts for Festus, Harvester, Liberty, Republic and Warrensburg License Offices

JEFFERSON CITY – Management contracts for five more local motor vehicle/license offices were awarded today by the Missouri Department of Revenue.  The granting of the offices came as a result of a comprehensive bidding process that has been championed by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The offices awarded today are in Festus, Harvester (St. Charles), Liberty, Republic and Warrensburg.  This brings to 33 the total number of offices granted under the new system.

The license office in Festus (also known as the Twin City License Office) has been awarded to the Twin City Area Chamber of Commerce.  The chamber has been the incumbent agent for the office since 1973.  The office will remain at its current location of 114 Main St.

Tim Fila of Lake St. Louis has been awarded the right to operate the Harvester License Office in St. Charles.  Fila is the incumbent agent – a position he has held since 2005.  The office will remain at 4217 S. Old Highway 94.

The Liberty License Office has been awarded to a new agent, James R. Williams of Kansas City.  The office will move to a new location at 2023 W. Kansas Ave. in Liberty.

Alternative Opportunities, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation based in Springfield, MO, is the new agent at the Republic License Office.  The office will stay at its current location of 243 W. Highway 60.

The Warrensburg License Office has been awarded to the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce.  The chamber is a new agent, but the office will remain at 1034 S. Maguire St., Suite A.

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 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 Twin City License Office received two bids, Harvester got seven bids, Liberty obtained six bids, Republic received four bids and there were two bids for the Warrensburg office.

Gov. Nixon signed legislation this past Wednesday that permanently puts his competitive bidding process into state law.  The bill endorsing the change passed with huge bipartisan majorities in the Missouri Senate and House.

“Republicans and Democrats alike endorsed this new, open method of awarding the license offices,” Gov. Nixon said.  “In the past, most offices were awarded to people because of which political party they belonged to.  Now, the offices are awarded to the people or groups that come up with the best plans for customer service and efficiency.  It’s hard to think of anyone who would want to undo this progress and return to the old patronage system.”

Karen King Mitchell, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, said she is pleased with how the competition for license offices has progressed.

“The new system provides incentives for current office agents and new bidders to improve the services at the license offices,” Mitchell said.  “The quality of the bids has been impressive, and all of the bids are open for anyone to look at after an office has been awarded.  A new day has dawned in terms of how local license offices are operated, and the winners will be the customers who receive better service and more fiscal accountability.”

Some winning bidders have chosen to return part of their estimated office revenues to the state.  The Harvester License Office will return 6 percent ($27,960) of its first-year revenues, Liberty will return 7 percent ($38,185), Republic will return 5 percent ($14,426), and Warrensburg will return 3 percent ($7,484).  The Twin City License Office bid did not include any return to the state.  The cumulative amount of estimated funds that will be returned to the state in the first contract year from the 33 license offices that have been awarded so far is $238,835.

“The willingness of agents to return some of their profits is a great cost-efficiency measure for the state, and the amount returned to the state will undoubtedly grow as more bids are awarded,” Mitchell said.  “This money will be able to be used for a variety of vital state services.”

Of the 183 license offices, 33 have been awarded and the bidding time has closed for another 79.  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.