Customers Seeking Vehicle Tabs Turned Away After More MNLARS Glitches

October 31, 2017 07:04 PM

Dozens of customers were turned away Tuesday while trying to renew license tabs at a Hennepin County Service Center in Maple Grove.

They were being told the Minnesota License and Registration System, or MNLARS, was down "statewide" and couldn't be used to renew tabs or process vehicle titles.


RELATED: Unimpressed with Improvements, Lawmakers Pressure Public Safety Department to Fix MNLARS

Tom Beebe of Rogers was at the center to renew tabs on his 2006 Jeep Liberty. "She said, 'what can I help you with?' And I said, 'I'd like my tabs,'" Beebe said. "She said, 'well, I've got bad news for you. The system is down statewide so when you leave here, don't bother going anywhere else.'"

Many were turned away from the center Tuesday. The woman who manages the Maple Grove location says she understands their frustration.

"This week, the state's MNLAR's system has been working intermittently," said Kathy Schons of the Hennepin County Service Center in Maple Grove. "Sometimes the system allows certain clerks to get in and not others, even within the same center. So because of the issues we've been having, we are just not doing MNLARS transactions at this time."

How would you like to see state lawmakers address the ongoing problems with MNLARS? You can send your thoughts to Gov. Mark Dayton, House Speaker Kurt Daudt, and Sen. Paul Gazelka below. 

That was just before 1 p.m. Tuesday. About 15 minutes later, the system came back up. 

But it was too late for Beebe, who had already gone home wondering what would happen if he were to get pulled over with expired tabs.

"It's Halloween, and their inefficiencies are scary," he said of the state officials who oversee the MNLARS system.

A spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety denied there were statewide problems and said the Maple Grove problems must have been isolated. DPS says more than 30,000 tab renewals were processed statewide Tuesday.

RELATED: After DVS System Upgrade, Many Still Having Issues

However, a website set up by Minnesota House Republicans to gather complaints about MNLARS fielded complaints Tuesday from Maple Grove, Brooklyn Park and Roseville. Over the past week there have also been complaints from Woodbury, Richfield, St. Peter and St. Louis County.

A couple weeks ago, Gov. Mark Dayton downplayed problems with MNLARS, who disputed the rollout has been "rocky," but admitted it's "not perfect." He said more than 99 percent of MNLARS transactions are processed "smoothly."

How MNLARS got funded:

In 2008, the Minnesota Legislature authorized a technology surcharge to fund the MNLARS project. In 2011, the Legislature authorized additional funding, including an extension of the technology surcharge.

- The technology surcharge is applied to most motor vehicle and driver's license transactions

  • Surcharge of $1.75 was effective July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2012
  • On July 1, 2012, the surcharge was reduced to $1 and remains effective through June 30, 2016

- Effective July 1, 2011, $1.50 of each filing fee collected by DVS on motor vehicle transactions will go to the DVS technology account. This does not apply to filing fees collected by deputy registrar offices
- In fiscal year 2013, there was a one-time transfer of $7.1 million from DVS special revenue accounts to the DVS technology account 

Information provided by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety 

"It's a bunch of hogwash," Beebe said of the governor's comments. "Come out and join us, governor."

Beebe said the governor's statistics don't include the people like him, who were turned away before they could even attempt a transaction.

The MNLARS system cost $90 million and is eventually going to expand to process driver's licenses, including the new REAL ID licenses.

State lawmakers plan further hearings to discuss ways to improve the system.


Tom Hauser

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