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Vehicle computer system still evolving
Sunflower Diversified gets funding
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It’s been a week since the Barton County Treasure’s Office reopened to vehicle business after a week-long hiatus as the Kansas Department of Revenue upgraded offices across the state to a new software and computer system. The goal – improve efficiency and usability.
However, “we did go live last week, kind of,” County Treasurer Kevin Wondra told the Barton County Commission Monday morning. Processing tag renewals takes longer and his people still can’t handle vehicle title work.
“It’s slowly coming around,” he said. When a bug is found in the system, the state sends a way to get around it. Last Thursday and Friday afternoons, the system froze-up completely.
“We hope to start doing titles this week,” he said. “We anticipate a swarm of people until we take care of the backlog.”
His office, and treasurer’s offices across the state, was closed to vehicle work from May 1-7 as the upgrades were installed. The new system came on-line last Monday, but still could not do titles, so there has been no such work in over two weeks.
  “It’s going to be an adventure,” Wondra said. “This is going to be a long process.”
Wondra advises those needing vehicle work done to call his at office 620-793-1831 first. “We ask for peoples’ patience.”
The treasurer said he will give motorists a customized letter if, for some reason, their vehicle needs can’t be processed. That letter can be shown to law enforcement should there be questions about a vehicle’s legality. “I can’t guarantee they will honor it.”
His staff was give very little opportunity to practice with and train on the new system before it was in use. So, there may be some more of this as the change-over progresses.
The new computer system replaced three 30-plus-year-old mainframe systems used for driver licensing, motor vehicle titling and registration, and inventory management with a single, more easily operated system. The switch involved treasurer’s offices and drivers license offices, and allowed for better integration between the two.
The system, designed by computer giant 3M, should have been up and running last summer. But, there were numerous delays.
The company will provide technical support for six months, at which time it will be turned over to the state.
“We are at their mercy,” Wondra said.
The driver’s license office was completely closed for the week of May 1-7. But,  it is now up and running now.

Sunflower Diversified funding
In other business, the commission, approved its $25,000 for Sunflower Diversified Services’ Early Childhood Intervention Program. County Administrator Richard Boeckman said the money had already been set aside in the county’s budget.
Sunflower Director Jim Johnson said the program serves primarily children from birth to age three, and their families. In 2011, it served 228 children, 122 of whom were from Barton County.
The agency covers Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. The other counties support Sunflower with a mill levy based on the percentage of the children from that county in the program.
“The first three years of child’s life are the most important” in terms of learning, Johnson said. Of those 122, 78 left the program for various reasons. Nineteen left because they had reached their developmental level and were no longer in need of special services. That’s one in four and the federal standard is one in five.
“We know the program is making a difference,” Johnson said. “We appreciate your continued support.”
Sunflower was established in 1966 and has received county support since 1970. It has a total annual budget of about $5.5 million.