The processing of vehicle registrations and property tax payments in Denton County is expected to get a lot faster soon, and we think it’s high time.
The change is due to a new remittance processing system that Tax Assessor-Collector Michelle French will be purchasing in the next few weeks. Officials said the system should cut the payment process time in half compared to current averages.
“That’s going to have such a great impact for our taxpayers, because we can process and mail back more quickly,” French said.
Using auto registration as an example, French said that on average, her office receives 8,000 to 10,000 renewals every month with a large percentage of that coming in toward the end of the month. She said it may take up to five days to turn around registration, with 250 renewals taking one person about eight hours.
“This can process [that amount] in about four hours, which is extremely exciting for us,” French said.
We believe that taxpayers will agree. Dealing with government rules and regulations is punishment enough without having to endure long wait times to get needed certificates and receipts.
The system is being purchased from R.T. Lawrence, a California-based firm. French said the system will cost the county about $135,116 and has technology that can scan and digitize the contents of the envelopes, check records, registration, renewal or property tax information and is able to read and upload payment information into the correct software and account.
French said nine counties in the state use the system and reviews are favorable. She has been looking at the technology for the past few years and once the software could process motor vehicle registrations, she said it was a must-have for the county.
“We feel it’s ready for Denton County,” she said. “We feel we’re at that point where we would have to ask for more staff members or use technology. I prefer to stay within the budgetary line items as much as I possibly can and save taxpayer dollars. If this is a vehicle to allow us to do that, we’re excited to get it in.”
French said it will take some time to purchase the equipment and software and conduct training. She said she does not anticipate having to reduce staff due to the new system’s efficiency.
“We will be able to divert some of our staff members currently working on the phone or on the counters, to be able to assist taxpayers more fully,” she said.
French said her staff is excited about the upgrade and grateful to county commissioners and capital improvement committee members for recommending funding for the system.
In our view, the new system is a necessary step forward for the county at a time when growth is putting increasing demands on existing staff and resources.
We need to find new ways to make government processes more efficient at all levels. Leaders in private industry aren’t afraid to use new technology to get the job done, and elected officials should follow their lead.
Government may be a necessary expense, but we shouldn’t force taxpayers to pay more than necessary.