The BMV needs to review the legislation establishing the "In God We Trust" plate and set uniform policies to be followed at each of its license branches. Its uneven procedures appear to place the state in the position of promoting "In God We Trust" as the standard state license plate.
The emphasis on distributing the specialty plate is especially puzzling considering the agency’s recent efforts to control costs. The “In God We Trust” plate costs more to make than the blue-and-green standard tag – 50 cents more per plate, to be precise. With 824,504 "In God We Trust" plates distributed as of last Saturday, that’s an additional $412,000 the agency has spent on plates. Six months into the year, that takes a hefty chunk out of the $1 million annual inventory cost savings the BMV boasts will be realized by replacing the one- or two-digit county indicator plates with a county sticker.
The BMV has even discouraged car owners from choosing the more cheaply manufactured standard plate by placing a premium on it. Those who request a new standard plate because their 2003-issue plate has been damaged must pay a $9 replacement fee. But they can accept a new "In God We Trust" plate with no replacement fee.
The state requires motorists who want certain specialty plates to provide additional paperwork to obtain their plates. Anyone requesting a Taylor University plate, for example, must produce an authorization form from Taylor and pay a $15 administrative fee and $15 group fee, which supports university programs.
There were early indications that the "In God We Trust" plate will cut into sales of plates supporting such worthy programs. In the first three months of this year, sales of the popular environmental trust plate were almost half what they were for the same period a year ago. Group fees from that plate go to the Indiana Heritage Trust fund to buy and protect land.
but there was another interesting bmv story in today's indy star:
Problems with the BMV's new computer system have cost taxpayers at least $6 million, and the tab is still running.
That added cost represents a nearly 20 percent increase over the project's original $32 million price tag -- and it may be the end of the year before all the problems are addressed and late 2008 before the Bureau of Motor Vehicles is sure the full system is working properly, officials said Wednesday.
"While we have made progress, we're not there yet," BMV Commissioner Ron Stiver said.
The botched conversion threw license branches into disarray and left customers fuming for months.
Stiver said about 80 percent of the widespread problems have been fixed.
The conversion -- which took place during a four-day period over the Fourth of July holiday last year -- generated more than 2,500 system glitches as more than 250 million records were merged from three separate databases the BMV had used since the mid-1990s.
At times, Stiver said, problems were cropping up faster than the agency and vendor could fix them.
Early on, more than 100,000 customers a month were required to go to license branches to resolve questions about conflicting information from the three old databases before they could finalize new transactions.
That number has dropped to about 2,800 a month, and all of those problems should be resolved by the end of one more registration renewal cycle, roughly the end of 2008, Stiver said.
while i have no doubt that the situation is improving and problems are getting fixed, i must remain somewhat skeptical, considering the orwellian metrics the bmv uses:
Stiver said the average wait for license branch transactions in May was 15 minutes. The agency defines "wait time" as the period between the moment a customer sits down with a clerk until they make their payment; it does not include time spent in line or waiting to see a BMV worker.
The May wait was down nine minutes from May 2006 and is 44 minutes shorter than in May 2005 at branches that were using STARS.
in other words, "wait time" does not include time you spend waiting. but at least, while you wait, you can once again look at the clock, or maybe even take a piss:
Many customers say they have noticed significant improvements in branch operations -- from reduced waits and access to restrooms to courteous service and the return of clocks that had been removed from some branches by Stiver's predecessor, Joel Silverman.¶