Residents can buy car tags through mail

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 1, 2000

Staff Writer

Feb. 29, 2000 11 PM

Some Pike County residents will get a surprise in the mailbox this week.

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The Pike County Probate Office is offering the opportunity to purchase vehicle tags through the mail.

Approximately 2,400 tag renewal notices went out from Probate Judge Bill Stone’s office Monday and those getting new tags in March are being used as a test.

Residents with last names beginning with C and E will receive envelopes containing two things ­ vehicle registration information and an explanation of the process. All they have to do is make a check out to the Probate Office and send it, along with the enclosed registration information, to the address provided.

"This is a one-month trial run project to help us determine the expense and what all is involved," Stone said.

After the month of March, Stone and his employees will take a look at the expense and response of the test run.

"Until we do this, we don’t know the problems we’ll run into or the cost," Stone said. "It’s the only way I know to get started."

Purchasing vehicle tags via a mail-in process is becoming available in most Alabama counties.

"Every year, more and more counties do it," Stone said. "This is a goal I’ve had for some time."

He said many of those living in the county have asked Stone about mail-in tags, but the Probate Office has been unable to do it because of the lack of automation and financial constraints.

When Y2K upgrades were made in the probate office, a printer with the capability of producing the mailout was installed.

"This is really the first time we’ve had a chance to do it," Stone said of offering citizens the opportunity to get their tag renewals by mail.

If the probate office decides to continue offering mail-in service, there will likely be a fee added to the cost of the tag. That fee will help pay the postage costs. But, there will not be additional cost this time because fee increases have to be done through action by the Alabama Legislature.

Stone pointed out only those renewing registration will be able to take advantage of the mail-in process. Anyone with address changes, handicapped tag applications or other changes will have to get their vehicle tags the old fashion way ­ a visit to the courthouse.

"Hopefully, in the long run, we’ll be able to offer this service to the people of Pike County (on a permanent basis)," Stone said.