By Marcy Stamper
People will have to go to Okanogan or Brewster to get vehicle titles and license plates — or for the convenience of renewing license tabs in person — for at least a couple of months after the Twisp subagent closes next week.
Julie Organ is closing the Twisp vehicle licensing center after running it for eight years because she is moving out of the area. The Okanogan County auditor will advertise for people interested in taking over the Twisp office, said Auditor Laurie Thomas.
Subagents can transfer and issue titles for cars, motorcycles, boats, off-road vehicles and RVs. They also renew registrations for license tabs and can issue trip permits, which allow someone to drive a vehicle for three days to move it, usually used during a sale, said Organ. They do not process drivers’ licenses.
Thomas said she hopes the county can recruit and certify a new subagent for Twisp in two months but said the state has added requirements that make it a lengthy process. An interview committee with the county auditor will make a recommendation to the state, which makes the final decision.
Subagents are sole proprietors who work under a contract with the state, said Organ. They receive three months’ training from the county auditor and must complete 10 hours of continuing education a year. They receive service fees on the licenses they process.
As sole proprietors, the subagents are responsible for finding a location and paying for rent, overhead and insurance. The Washington Department of Licensing provides the computer.
In addition to the auditor’s office in Okanogan, there are four subagents in the county, in Twisp, Brewster, Tonasket and Oroville. “It’s nice for customers — and for us — if people can go locally to get these things done,” said Thomas.
Subagents don’t have to restrict themselves to license processing — they can be an add-on to an existing business or offer additional services such as a notary public, said Thomas. In fact, that can be preferable, since they would be more apt to have employees and wouldn’t have to close when the subagent was sick or on vacation. For years, the Tonasket subagent was part of a video-rental store, said Thomas.
The Twisp office will be closed this week but will be open from Tuesday through Friday, Sept. 12 to 15, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 15 is the last day.