County looks at cutting car-registration lines

The Douglas County Treasurer’s office is exploring ways to reduce the long lines that form at the end of the month when most people renew their vehicle license tags.

Among the solutions are encouraging more renewals by mail and online, putting kiosks in the courthouse, and working with the state to increase the number of registration due dates.

The tag renewal process was one of several issues studied in a management assessment conducted over the past year and a half by a consultant concerning functions in the treasurer’s office. The study was initiated by Treasurer Paula Gilchrist.

Included in the study was a survey of the public about its perception of the treasurer’s office and its employees.

“Customer satisfaction overall is very high,” the consultant, LaVern Epp said. “But simply stated, people don’t like the hassle of standing in line for new licenses.”

In other business, commissioners approved the so-called southern development plan in a 3-2 vote. The plan outlines residential, industrial and commercial uses for an area generally between 31st Street and the Wakarusa River.

Commissioners Bob Johnson and Jere McElhaney voted for a version of the plan recommended by the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission. That version designates land northwest of the intersection of East 31st and Louisiana streets as “medium density residential.” Commissioner Charles Jones said he favored the Lawrence City Commission version, which designated the same area “low density residential.”

Johnson and McElhaney also voted not to accept an amended chapter of Horizon 2020 about industrial and employment land use. They said additional revisions under consideration should be made first. Jones argued that the revisions could be made through other later amendments.