Carrie Rengers

County treasurer considers consolidating tag offices

There’s a chance Sedgwick County’s four tag offices will consolidate into two. This one at Douglas and Meridian would remain.
There’s a chance Sedgwick County’s four tag offices will consolidate into two. This one at Douglas and Meridian would remain. The Wichita Eagle

There are no concrete plans yet, but County Treasurer Linda Kizzire is considering consolidating the county’s four tag offices into two.

“We’re just looking at some options,” she says. “Nothing has been signed. Nothing has been determined on where we’re going.”

Kizzire says she’s considering consolidation for a couple of key reasons: money and time.

“It’ll save the taxpayers money.”

Kizzire estimates consolidation would save at least $150,000 annually, in part due to a reduction in overtime expenses.

There are seven employees each in tag offices at 21st and Woodlawn, 21st and Maize Road and in Derby. The main tag office, at Douglas and Meridian, has almost 50 employees, including staff members who don’t work the tag counters.

Some employees are still undergoing training, but Kizzire says she hopes all 29 work stations there will have employees staffing them by early June.

Currently, if people are sick or on vacation at a satellite office, staff members from the main office have to help.

“I have to rob Peter to pay Paul, basically,” Kizzire says.

Also, at the beginning and end of each month, she says, “Quite frankly, our staff is working … probably about 12 hours a day.”

As long as someone seeking a tag is in line by 5 p.m., Kizzire says her employees stay to help them.

Because there are more people in the main office, those people generally can leave work faster than the employees at the other offices, Kizzire says.

“We do spend an awful lot of money on overtime.”

She says Johnson County has only two offices, which she says results in less overtime work because there are more employees in one place.

For a potential extra few minutes of driving time, Kizzire says residents should be able to get in and out of consolidated offices more quickly.

Also, she says, “It would be a lot easier to manage two offices.”

If consolidation happens, the two offices the county would keep would be the newest one at Douglas and Meridian and a new east-side office, which hasn’t been selected yet.

The current east-side office in Brittany Center at 21st and Woodlawn is on a month-to-month lease.

“We’ve always been planning on moving it,” Kizzire says. “It’s in an older shopping center.”

The center is in receivership, so she says there has not been a lot of upkeep at the property.

Kizzire says she has looked at a few potential new sites but is not yet sure what size the building will be.

“It’s going to depend on if we decide managerially and economically to consolidate.”

In addition to offering options to renew tags online and by mail, Kizzire says she’s investigating another in-person option as well. She says she’s working with the state on providing kiosks for around the county that residents could use like ATMs to renew their tags.

“That would give you another option,” she says.

“We’re just trying to make it more convenient for the citizens of Sedgwick County to get their tags renewed.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers