Assessor’s office facing another round of ‘efficiency:’

By Boundary County Assessor Olivia Drake

Olivia DrakeOnline Renewals? Why are there different totals on my renewal notice? First, a little background for those who may be new to the area: The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Idaho is run at the state level by the Idaho Transportation Department, or ITD. At the local county level, the assessor oversees motor vehicle registrations and the sheriff typically oversees driver’s licensing. Your local Boundary County Assessor’s Office/DMV has been adapting to some new statewide programs being implemented by ITD.

We made it through the technical difficulties of the new GEM computer processing system rollout in 2020. We are now adjusting to ITD Centralization, the final phase of which was completed in October 2023.

The intent of centralization is to reduce operational costs and increase efficiencies by centralizing operations at ITD offices in Boise. This in turn should be reflected in reduced fees paid by you, the customer, when completing DMV transactions.

One change caused by centralization that you may have noticed is that we are no longer able to provide license plates directly from our local offices. Plates are now mailed from Boise, which can cause a longer wait for new plates. We are hoping that this will be alleviated with updates in the centralized office procedures. There have also been some delays in renewal notices while they work out the kinks in the new system.

Another change is that ITD has now successfully implemented their online renewal system for vehicle registrations.You may have seen this advertised as “Skip the Trip, Save Time – Go Online.”

The intent is to save you some time and money by reducing duplication of efforts and removing local administrative fees for online services.

While we are impressed with the efforts to streamline the system and reduce customer fees, please realize that admin fees are what keeps our local offices afloat. That is why the renewal notices now show a different amount for in-office renewals vs online renewals. Our hope is to continue provide in-person customer service for as long as you need us. Admin fees are used to pay the employees who provide that service.

Moving forward, our local office will likely not be able to help with mistakes caused by the online system or process renew by mail registrations, which are sent to our local office, without the local admin fees included.

If you are comfortable using the online system, by all means do so! Just be aware that if any issues arise, you will need to contact ITD customer service in Boise instead of your local DMV office.

If, on the other hand, you would like to have the option of dealing with a real-live human locally, feel free to come in to your local office as usual, and see where the admin fees are going. Our clerks will be happy to help you!