License plate agency contract to expire

Tom Joyce Staff Reporter

January 12, 2014

A question mark now surrounds the operation of the state license plate office in Mount Airy, due to the present contract for the agency expiring in May.

As a result, the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles announced Thursday that it is accepting applications for the city’s license plate office.

However, this process does not mean there could be a change, since the present contractor, Diane Smith, may reapply to operate the business, according to a DMV official.

The existing office, located at 137 Riverside Drive, will continue to operate during the application process, which typically takes about four months to complete, the DMV reported.

Smith did not respond to a telephone message left at the office on Friday seeking information about her intentions to reapply. But a relative of Smith’s who was involved in its launching in 2009 said Thursday he is sure she will seek to continue operating the license plate agency.

He cited a huge investment that was made at the facility on Riverside Drive, which included major renovations to a building formerly occupied by the human resources division of Renfro Corp.

In addition, the family member said, the public has been pleased with the existing operation and there are no apparent problems to signal any need for change.

Mount Airy-area residents found themselves without a license plate office for more than seven months from 2008 to 2009, after the retirement of a longtime contracting agent.

The closing of her office in 52 Thruway Shopping Center required those residents to visit other agencies in the area, including one in Dobson where long lines sometimes occurred as a result.

Smith was selected after an application process to fill that vacancy.

Deadline Is Feb. 10

Under DMV policy, an open application process is conducted for the operation of a license plate agency whenever a contract expires.

Applications for plate agencies (Form MVR-93 or Form MVR-93AA) are located on the Connect NCDOT website.

Interested applicants may download an application form for a motor vehicle license plate agency or call (919) 861-3332 with questions. Applications must be returned to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles no later than Feb. 10.

There are now about 120 license plate agencies statewide. Along with plate renewals and replacement tags, the offices provide vehicle registration services, title transactions and duplicate registrations.

Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or