Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.|
Morgan County License Commissioner Sue Baker Roan, left, and Deputy Commissioner Patsy Dougherty answer a question for Joe Henderson in the newly opened license office in the District 4 shop on Union Hill Road.
Morgan rural tag site becomes busy place
By Sheryl Marsh
COTACO — An idea of two Morgan County officials for a tag office in the eastern part of the county has come to fruition, saving gas and time for taxpayers in the rural area.
License Commissioner Sue Baker Roan said creating a satellite tag office in District 4 Commissioner Stacy George’s shop was like bringing public service to the doors of residents.
“As high as the gas prices are, I’m glad we were able to make it a shorter trip for residents in this area to buy their tags,” Roan said.
“Ever since I’ve been in office, I’ve wanted to open an office out in the county to make it easier for the people who have been so good to me. My goal is to repay them with good service.”
George said he shared Roan’s thoughts about a tag office in his district.
He got the County Commission to approve putting a satellite office in his shop on Union Hill Road at Cotaco. He provided labor and paid for building materials out of his shop’s budget.
“It’s true that if you build something, people will come. The traffic out here is unbelievable,” George said. “We have people from Hartselle, who work in Huntsville, swinging by here early in the morning when the shop opens at 6. It’s not uncommon to see 100 people or more on the last day of each month.”
Deputy License Commissioner Patsy Dougherty said the District 4 office sold 178 tags April 30.
The office opened 10 months ago and has had from 313 to 1,132 tag transactions each month, records show.
Roan has one employee in the office, and George’s administrative assistant helps during busy times.
Roan and George saved the county thousands by putting the office in the district shop.
“We converted a conference room,” George said. “The shop employees installed cabinets that a company built and made shelves for tag storage. Everything was done with county employees to keep the cost down. We probably did everything for about $8,000.”
In addition, he paid for computers and other equipment for the office out of his shop’s budget.
Nobody knows better than the residents who live in the rural county area what it means to have a tag office there.
“I think it’s highly beneficial for us,” said Pat Matkin, who lives at Valhermoso Springs. “We are a long way from Decatur and Hartselle. It’s saving people 20 or 30 miles of driving for their tags. Decatur is 20 miles away for me, and Hartselle is 17. Now, when I renew my tags in June I’ll only have to drive two miles.”
The tag office is open Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
In the future, officials might add a driver license division there.
“We’d love to give them all the services of the office at the courthouse and the one at Hartselle,” Roan said. “We couldn’t do it at this time, but in the future we hope to be able to do that.”
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