People who need vehicle titles and license plates — or who want to renew their license tabs in person — will have to travel to Okanogan or Brewster for at least a few months while the county recruits a new subagent in Twisp. The vehicle-licensing agent on Glover Street closed at the end of May.
Because it’s a regulated contract with the state, it took a while to obtain the go-ahead to solicit applications for a new agent, said Okanogan County Auditor Cari Hall, who formally announced a request for proposals last week.
Subagents are sole proprietors who work under a contract with Washington, but they get training from the county auditor and the state. 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 and related equipment.
“It’s a very unique business relationship between the state, the county, and an independent business owner,” said Hall.
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. They do not process drivers’ licenses.
Twisp had one subagent for 20 years until she retired a few years ago. The last agent who had the contract also runs a subagency in Chelan and closed the Twisp location for personal reasons, said Hall.
While Washington has specific rules governing licensing and subagencies, there is considerable flexibility. A subagent can be part of another business — Tonasket had an agent in a video-rental store. The agent can also be open on Saturday, a convenience for locals and tourists, since people can renew license tabs anywhere in the state, said Hall.
The county has to get authorization for all subagents and currently has three — in Oroville, Brewster, and the open slot in Twisp, said Hall.
There has been considerable interest since the Twisp agent closed, with half a dozen people calling to inquire, said Hall. “It’s a viable business,” she said.
Hall acknowledged that the request for proposal may seem daunting. “I will help the new subagent to ensure success. We all work together,” she said.
By state law, Hall interviews candidates and submits a recommendation to the state for formal approval. The entire process can take months. Hall hopes she can have someone in place by the winter.
The request for proposals is available on the main page of the Okanogan County website at www.okanogancounty.org under “Request for Proposal,” then “Current.” There is a description of the job, plus a link for more information.
Proposals are due by Aug. 7. For more information, call Hall at (509) 422-7240.