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Missoula Co. sees delays in vehicle registration, license plate renewals

Missoula County Courthouse
Posted at 2:51 PM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 18:24:45-05

MISSOULA — Complaints are circling on social media about wait times for vehicle registration and license plate renewals.

The Missoula County Treasurer's Office reports that after working online for months – and following a recent statewide system update -- the process is backed up.

The public has not been allowed inside the Clerk's Office at the Missoula County Courthouse since this summer, so vehicle registration and title transactions are all being done online.

Missoula County Clerk and Treasurer Tyler Gernant says December is usually one of the slowest months of the year for that kind of paperwork because fewer people are buying vehicles in the winter months. But, this year, they are backed up about four-to-six weeks.

Gernant says that before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, title transactions could be done immediately in person but people now have to go online and fill out an application to process the title.

Because so many applications can come in at the same time online, Gernant says they're still processing some of those applications from October.

Gernant says processing titles in person only requires using one software platform, but when it’s performed online it takes four. They're hoping to combine those steps to speed up the process.

"Improving our services going forward -- I think the online services are something we are really going to strive to keep, but in order for us to do that we have to somehow make that more efficient as well,” he explained. “And I think that's what this new software will do for us."

Gernant says with fewer people buying cars this winter, they should be able to catch back up in the next few months -- and he hopes to get that processing time down to days, not weeks.

He added that Missoula County shares phone lines and that the health department is busy using those, so if you need to call about your vehicle, the best time is in the afternoon.