HAMMOND — The City Council on Tuesday authorized Mayor Mayson Foster to enter into an agreement between the city and a private auto title service that, pending final approval from the state, would transfer the processing of driver’s licenses and vehicle tags and titles to the private service.
Auto Title Services LLC, operated by Barbara Tallo Farkas, would become the “public tag agent” once the agreement between the city and state is finalized.
Foster said Office of Motor Vehicles officials support the move, and he will introduce a companion resolution at the Oct. 21 council meeting to further clarify the city’s agreement with the OMV.
Auto Title Services will charge between $5 and $15 for motor vehicle related transactions, Foster said. He said motorists who currently use the OMV office pay a $3 fee per transaction for building maintenance and utilities.
Foster said Auto Title Services will operate out of the same building currently run by the OMV on North Morrison Boulevard. He said the OMV has promised that all current employees will be given an opportunity to continue their employment elsewhere with the state.
Three years ago, the city assumed the responsibility of paying rent, utilities and other expenses to keep an OMV office in Hammond. “State law states that a motor vehicle office must be maintained in the seat of each parish, so the Amite office was protected. We did what we had to do to keep an OMV office in Hammond,” Foster said.
He said the transfer could be completed as soon as Nov. 1.
Also on Tuesday, the council set for public hearing a proposed ordinance to prohibit smoking within 20 feet of any city buildings. Foster said city law already prohibits smoking within city buildings. The measure will be taken up for final approval at the Oct. 21 meeting.