Jefferson County car tag bill signed into law

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s official. Governor Robert Bentley signed a new law this week designed to cut the long lines and wait times to get your tag renewed in Jefferson County.

It should reduce wait time at the Jefferson County courthouse, because cities within the county now have the option of letting their residents renew vehicle tags at their local city hall.

People can only renew vehicle tags in the city where they reside and only if their city has chosen to participate. Cities are not required to offer the local option.

Starting in April, Vestavia Hills residents can renew their tags at Vestavia Hills City Hall, according to the city clerk.

Vestavia Hills is the first city to adopt the new law.

The bill’s sponsor, State Representative Paul DeMarco, says there’s nothing standing in the way of other cities following suit.

He says several other cities have shown interest including Birmingham, Mountain Brook, Irondale, Clay, Sylvan Springs, Fultondale, Leeds and Trussville.

When Vestavia’s workers go to Montgomery to train in March, Trussville city employees will be going too, according to Trussville Mayor Gene Melton.

“We’re watching the Department of Revenue get things right with Vestavia and work out all the bugs. And there are several cities looking at what’s happening in Vestavia so that we cannot have to go through the same problems. Let them get everything worked out and then we’ll probably, I can’t give you a date, but as soon as everything is good with that system in Vestavia, then I think you’ll see other cities adopt it,” said Trussville Mayor Gene Melton.

This won’t apply to people who bought new cars and need to process titles. You will still have to go to the courthouse for that, but Wednesday the lines were not bad at all.

Jefferson County Manager Tony Petelos says the county has added 20 positions and already hired about a dozen more workers for the revenue department to handle the workload.

Petelos says the county’s goal is to get wait times down to under an hour. According to Petelos, things are getting better, but they still have a long way to go.

“I came here about 3 to 4 weeks ago and probably waited two,  two and a half hours. And today I came, I bought a new car and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the line was significantly shorter,” said David Demedicis, Mountain Brook resident. “Any improvement would be appreciated.”

County Commissioner Jimmie Stephens says new software is also expected to help in the near future.

2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

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