Harvey County Commissioners voted to increase fees for out-of-county customers at the Harvey County driver's license office. The increase is in response to a higher rate of non-Harvey County residents utilizing the service.

Starting today, out-of-county customers will pay a $20 fee, increased from the previous $8. In-county customers still will pay a $3 fee.

Even with the higher fee, Commissioner Randy Hague thinks out-out-county residents still will take advantage of the convenience of the Harvey County driver's license office.

"I don't think the people will have a problem with paying it," he said.

County Treasurer Becky Fields reported there are regularly crowds of people at the Harvey County driver's license office. There is an especially large influx from Sedgwick County, where people are experiencing wait times of six to eight hours at the driver's license office. Surrounding counties have now begun to pick up some of those customers.

"All the counties around Sedgwick County are getting inundated," Hague said.

Fields said the influx of out-of-county customers has put more of a strain on her department, especially at times when they are shorthanded. She reported other counties plan to go to the $20 out-of-county fee as well.

Other business

Commissioners also heard an update from Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton about the Senior Patrol program, which officially ends Friday.

Walton had previously recommended ending the program due to the need for budget cuts. The Senior Patrol program costs an estimated $12,000 to operate and includes about 25 volunteers who perform services for the community, such as checking on people's homes while they're on vacation.

Walton said the program also presents some liability issues and safety concerns. Senior Patrol volunteers could be in danger if they come across a daytime burglary, particularly if that crime involves drugs.

Walton thinks law enforcement agencies in other areas also will be shutting down Senior Patrol programs.

"I believe all of Senior Patrol will probably be eliminated in the next two years," he said.