Sedgwick County residents continue to be willing to drive the extra distance to the Harvey County Courthouse to renew their driver's licenses — even though they now have to pay an even higher fee to do so.
In June, Harvey County Commissioners voted to increase fees for out-of-county customers at the Harvey County driver's license office. Although the increase was in response to a higher rate of non-Harvey County residents utilizing the service, the increase hasn't seemed to deter customers.
"It hasn't decreased because the fee was raised," County Treasurer Becky Fields said of the level of traffic. In fact, the rate of out-of-county customers may even be increasing.
Out-of-county customers now pay a $20 fee, increased from the previous $8. In-county customers still will pay a $3 fee. Fields said out-of-county customers seem willing to pay the extra fee for this service.
Fields estimated about 150+ people come through the Harvey County driver's license office per day, and the department now serves more out-of-county than in-county residents.
Most of the out-of-county customers come from Sedgwick County. There is only one site in Wichita, and long lines can result in a wait of several hours or even up to a day. Good customer service at Harvey County also seems to be a draw.
The increased load has put a strain on the staff of two workers at the Harvey County driver's license office. Fields would like to see the state open more offices in Wichita and hire more employees to meet the demand there. She said Harvey County is not able to expand to meet the need.
"We don't have the budget or the room to put anybody else in that office," she said.