Contracts for the majority of Missouri's 182 vehicle license offices, including the one in Maryville, are coming up for renewal, which means that groups and individuals will soon have the opportunity to bid on franchises to operate them.
Prior to 2009, license office franchises from the state Department of Revenue were awarded through a political patronage system. Gov. Jay Nixon changed that early in his first term by instructing the department to grant contracts on the basis of competitive bids.
Locally, the contract went to the Greater Maryville Chamber of Commerce, which was the sole bidder. The license office and the Chamber share a building, which is located next door to City Hall at 423 North Market St.
Outgoing Chamber Executive Director Luke Reven said Thursday the Chamber plans on submitting an offer for a new contract in September. He added that the business advocacy association was the only entity to do so when the contract was first bid in 2009.
Though the Chamber derives some fiscal benefit from the office, Reven said the operation is not a big money maker and brings in a relatively small amount of cash above its operational cost.
Because franchisees receive a flat rate for each transaction, he said, offices in large cities produce significantly more revenue than smaller operations like the one in Maryville, which has three full-time employees.
For that reason, Reven said he fears that if the Chamber didn't bid on the contract, no one else would.
"Our primary concern is that there would be no license office in Maryville, which would be inconvenient to say the least," he said.
According to a Department of Revenue fact sheet, the Maryville office conducted an estimated 32,618 motor vehicle and drivers license transactions during fiscal 2012, which would have brought in just under $110,000 in fees. Of those, 27,229 were motor vehicle transactions ($89,253 in fees) and 5,389 were drivers license transactions ($20,684 in fees).
Back in 2009 all of the state's license offices were put out for bid using a competitive procurement process that awarded one-year contracts with options for three one-year renewals. The process will be repeated when the final options expire this fall.
According to the Department of Revenue release issued Wednesday, the department will post a Request for Proposal for license office contracts within the next few weeks.
Interested bidders will have approximately four weeks to bid on operating the offices in accordance with the procedure outlined in the RFP. Scheduled tours of the offices will be provided to anyone interested in bidding.
Bids will be evaluated with regard to such criteria as expertise, service methods, and whether the individual or entity is a non-profit organization, political subdivision, Certified Minority Business Enterprise, Women Business Enterprise or Missouri Service-Disabled Veteran Enterprise.
All bidders must have an active Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).
Page 2 of 2 - For more Missouri License Office bidding information, go to dor.mo.gov/pdf/License_Office_Bid_Fact_Sheet.pdf.