Newton Kansan

This is not a week anyone would plan — but it is the week facing the county treasurer's office.

The last week of February has arrived — with registrations due and hurdles in place for those who work in the treasurer's office. The office will be closed for a funeral for three hours Tuesday — and in addition, Monday there were four members of the office out sick.

One of those workers is recovering from surgery. Others, including the treasurer, are out with the flu.

"This is not a good week," said Becky Fields, Harvey County Treasurer.

Compounding the closures and staffing issues in the shadow of Friday's deadline for registrations and renewals for last names staring with A, there's a new software system for commercial vehicles.

"It takes forever, we have to enter everything into the system again — it is like they were never there," Fields said. "What we have been doing is getting people's information, keeping paperwork and calling them when we are ready to finish it up."

Some of those registrations were originally due Dec. 31, however the state issued a two-moth grace period which is ending Friday.  Monday the the Kansas Division of Vehicles announced it is waiving late fees for one month for commercial motor vehicle operators whose tags must be renewed by Friday, Feb. 28.

The decision means those registering non-farm commercial motor vehicles will not be charged late fees if they register their vehicles by March 31, 2014.

According to the Kansas Dept. or Revenue, the final week of every month is the busiest time for county treasurers’ offices as people come in to renew their vehicle tags. Because not all treasurers are offering commercial motor vehicle registration, and some operators will need to register for a U.S. DOT number, those waiting until the last moment could miss their renewal deadline.

"We view waiving the late fees as a customer service to help commercial motor vehicle operators as they acclimate to the changes," said Lisa Kaspar, Director of Vehicles

In Harvey County those have been processed when there's a lull with other registrations — but with the lack of staff and curtailed hours this week Fields isn't sure those lulls will happen in the Treasurer's office.

Fields said it may require overtime for staff to get everything wrapped up by Friday.

"Regular cars and trucks will happen, but the other things, they work on it as they can," Fields said. "Commercial people will not sit, they will leave it and we will call them when is ready. We will do the best we can"

Fields also said to not wait until Friday to renew tags — especially tags on commercial vehicles.

"If (commercial registrations ) come in Friday, it just will not happen," Fields said.

While the state is notifying Kansas law enforcement agencies of the extension, the vehicle’s tags will legally be expired and drivers could be ticketed by law enforcement.