BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – Lee County Treasurer services are going strictly by appointment starting Monday, but one county official say the office is working hard to keep up with a pandemic-created demand.
The Lee County Treasurer’s office sent out a notice last week that it was moving to an appointment-only platform eliminating all walk-in traffic.
Becky Gaylord, deputy of driver’s license services in Lee County, said the appointment process is working well. However, she said residents need to continue to do as much online as possible to help keep things moving.
“When we opened back up that first week we just let anyone in and soon realized we couldn’t even answer the phones with all the people who were coming in for renewals,” Gaylord said.
With the pandemic came proclamations from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds that extended driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals. But after close to five month of office closures, Gaylord said there is a backlog of renewals and the county is trying to get to them as fast as they can.
The Iowa County Treasurer’s Association sent an email to county offices on Friday indicating the state was experience a 36% backlog on eligible renewals. The notice said that there were 30,786 Iowa residents who were supposed to renew their license between March 16 and July 31, 2020.
As part of the governor’s proclamation, the state gave a 60-day extension on any motor vehicle or driver’s license renewals.
“Right now we’re just trying to get to those people that are past the 60-day extension.
But Gaylord said residents need to remember that straight renewals and other services can be done online.
“On the driver’s license side, there are an enormous amount of things that can be done online,” Gaylord said.
“Anybody over 18 and under 70 can renew online, file change of addresses, get duplicate licenses. People who are just wanting a new picture, we’re not doing that. So those types of optional things we’re pushing off a bit.”
Gaylord said Iowa residents also need to remember that they can file for a 6-month extension on their license online, which would also help reduce the backlog. She the new Real ID requirement, which requires a new driver’s license with a Real ID designation on it for commercial travel throughout the United States, has also been extended until October 2021.
But that license upgrade cannot be done online and requires an in-person appointment to travel after Oct. 2021.
Gaylord said her best advice is that anyone who’s license is expired but hasn’t been able to get in for a renewal, should go online and apply for the six-month extension.
“Whatever they can do online, we would certainly want them to do that,” she said. “But it’s not just Lee County or Iowa, this is the whole United States and everybody is dealing with it.”
Those who are interested in renewing online or requesting an extension can click on the following link: https://iowadot.gov/mvd/driverslicense/renew
The site also includes information on REAL ID requirements and documentation needed at the time of the local appointment.
Local officials can be reached by calling 319-372-3405. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Masks are required for all in-person services at Lee County offices.
“We’re doing the best we can. Asking for a little bit of patience. And we’re stressing the public do as much as they can online so we can make appointments through priorities,” Gaylord said.