In the Know column: Here's how the Douglas County License Bureau works
You may be thinking the License Bureau is the place with the long lines.
By Jerry Rapp, Douglas County commissioner
The Douglas County License Bureau is county owned and the revenue it takes in supports the county. That’s why where you get your license tab renewals and new drivers license matters. Douglas County appreciates very much when you keep your business local. As chair of the Douglas County Board, I have the opportunity to use this In the Know column to share information readers may not get elsewhere. This column will share how our local license bureau works every day to provide efficient service you can depend on.
You may be thinking the License Bureau is the place with the long lines. During the rush to get REAL IDs, there were some long lines, but since that deadline has been extended to May 2023, the lines are much shorter. As a reminder, a REAL ID will be necessary for domestic air travel. An Enhanced ID can be used to travel to and from Mexico and Canada by land or sea and some countries in the Caribbean.
Currently the license bureau is located in the Douglas County Services Center at 715 Elm Street. The easiest access is to park on Elm Street and use the entrance facing west. There are two separate lines so be sure to plan ahead. If you need tab renewals for vehicles, trailers, or watercraft, or need to transfer a vehicle or mark it sold, get in the roped off area in the hallway. Chairs are available for those needing to sit.
If you need a new driver's license or need to renew your current one, you are asked to make an appointment. We have a real simple way to do that for those comfortable going online. Go to www.co.douglas.mn.us and look on the right-hand side under Quick Links. There you will see the Drivers License Scheduling App. For those who do not like to make appointments online, call 320-762-3897 and one of our license bureau staff will be happy to assist you. When you arrive, there are chairs located right in the entryway marked Drivers License Appointments Sit Here.
Susan Crotteau is the director of the License Bureau. The county supports a local license bureau and Susan has adjusted hours and made other changes to accommodate people’s schedules and needs. There is a drop box near the door on the west entrance so people can drop their tab renewals off for processing. Just use the yellow envelope you get in the mail from the state. Fill out the enclosed form and write a check to Douglas County License Bureau for the amount. Put it in the drop box and you’ll have your tabs in three or four days. The local support is critical to keeping a local license center. If you mail that envelope back to the state, you are cutting out the county.
The License Bureau will be moving to our newest county facility, this fall. That building is located at 822 Douglas Street where there will be ample parking in the lot on the west side. The License Bureau will be located right inside the door on the main level. That means really easy access. But, as an extra incentive to keep your drivers’ services local, the county will also provide a drive-thru drop box in the new parking lot. Imagine, you won’t even have to get out of your vehicle on those cold, winter days.
Joining the license bureau in the Administration Building, will be the Auditor-Treasurer’s Office. This will be a change for people during tax paying and election cycles. We’ll be sure to remind everyone during that time that there’s a new location. We are confident the increased parking and layout of the new building will be well received. The county will also house the Coordinator’s Office, Human Resources, and the Finance Department in the Administration building.
One more important activity that will occur regularly in the Administration Building at 822 Douglas Street is the county board meetings. Commissioners hold regular board meetings twice a month. They are usually held at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays. The preliminary agenda is published in the Echo Press so everyone can see what will be discussed. There will be more elbow room and you should be able to hear better so please come join us once in a while.
Jerry Rapp is the chair of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners. In the Know is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.