MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Clerk’s Office will get more than half a million dollars for postage to help deal with a weeks-long backup mailing out new vehicle license plates.
County commissioners approved $540,000 for the clerk’s office near the end of a lengthy Monday night meeting.
County Clerk Wanda Halbert’s office had been inundated with the job of sending out this year’s newly redesigned Tennessee license plates in the mail, telling commissioners last week that the office did not have the postage to cover the mailing because of increased shipping costs.
That meant some drivers have been waiting weeks for their new plates in the mail and driving with expired tags as they waited.
“This is appalling to me,” said Commissioner Tami Sawyer, who said her own license plate had expired while she waited on her renewed plate in the mail. “It’s not safe for the citizens of Shelby County. This puts people at risk. We cross the border into another state with expired tags, we drive to Arkansas and Mississippi every day, it’s just not safe, and something’s gotta be done.”
Commissioners said they’re getting angry calls from citizens who are upset with the backup and are blaming them.
“The citizens of Shelby County deserve to get their tags,” Commissioner Mark Billingsley said. “This has gone on for weeks and people are very upset about it.”
Previously, the mayor’s office had been mailing out new tags, Halbert said last month. But on July 1, that duty is transferred to her office.
Halbert, who’s running for re-election, blamed the problem on outdated facilities, poor technology, and staffing shortages. She claimed she needed more money from the county commission to fix it.