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Some counties charging extra driver's license fees

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) -- Some Kansas counties have started charging additional fees to handle driver's license business for out-of-county residents who want to avoid long waits in their own communities.

Wichita resident Tammy Katzenmeier, who drove the roughly 30 miles to Newton last week to have her driver's license renewed, said she didn't mind paying the extra $20 fee Harvey County charged because it meant she didn't have to wait in line elsewhere.

"I took my son to get a learner's permit test in Hutchinson in May or June, and we had to wait 2 1/2 hours. That was on the first day," she told The Hutchinson News ( "We went back a second day because we'd left after we got tired of waiting. The second day, there was already a line of 15 people at 7 a.m., and we waited about an hour and a half."

At Newton on Thursday, Katzenmeier was immediately seated and walked out about 10 minutes later.

Harvey and Butler counties are among those who started charging extra fees to out-of-county residents, while treasurers in Stafford and Kingman counties are consider similar fees.

The Department of Revenue's Division of Vehicles full-service offices in Hutchinson, Wichita and McPherson can't charge additional fees because they are run by the state. County treasurers elsewhere are free to decide whether to charge such fees.

"We get a lot of traffic from all areas around us," said Stafford County Treasurer Lisa Milton. "Even the UPS man renewed here because he knows there's no lines here. I don't think people would mind (the extra fee), especially when you come from those larger counties."

Driver's license offices are typically the busiest in summer, when roughly 35,000 teenagers are flooding in to take their driver's test, Revenue Department spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda said.

"So if you're doing a (driver's license) renewal, which takes about five to six minutes plus processing time, and the drive tests take 45 minutes," the lines get bogged down, she said.

A sharp rise in concealed carry permits also has contributed to backups in the offices, Koranda said. Those seeking a concealed carry license get permitted for one through the Kansas Attorney General's Office, but they head to DMV stations to complete the process and obtain a card that looks like a driver's license, she said.

Kingman County Treasurer Donna Rohlman said her office has discussed an extra fee for out-of-county residents, but she has decided against it so far.

"We get a lot of conceal-and-carry and CDLs," she said. "We've had them lined out the door with up to a two-hour wait, but a lot of people would rather drive to Kingman for the two-hour wait than go to Wichita for a seven-hour wait."