SALT LAKE CITY -- When people buy fewer cars, it is not just the dealerships that are missing out on money.
So the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division is proposing a few changes, said Charlie Roberts, spokesperson for the Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division.
Those changes include an increase in the temporary permit fee when someone buys a vehicle, and a new permanent license for each additional dealership location.
There are 21 state police officers working in the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division that regulate new and used car dealerships. That includes both the sales license of the individual vehicles sold as well as the licenses of the dealers. The bulk of the division's funding comes from fees paid by automobile buyers and the dealerships. "So during economic downturns when people are purchasing fewer cars, their funding decreases," Roberts said.
The flip side of that is the number of crimes they deal with increases, Roberts said.
The officers in the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division also are the recognized experts in stolen vehicles, odometer fraud and chop shops, the type of crimes where criminals cross city and county boundaries. The officers work with all agencies across the state on those crimes.
"Another thing they do is they handle complaints," Roberts said. "If you go and purchase a car and they say we'll get your title to you in 45 days and you don't get your title and the dealer goes out of business, they handle those types of complaints."
Roberts said the purpose of the increase in the temporary permit fee and the addition of the permanent place of business license is to maintain funding for division.
Right now, when someone purchases a new or used vehicle they pay a $12 temporary permit fee. The proposed increase is $15.
The division said a fee increase is necessary to maintain current service levels in regulation and enforcement of the state's motor vehicle dealer laws.
Dealerships also pay $26 for a temporary motor vehicle dealer additional place of business license. While that would remain the same, there is a proposal for a permanent license for additional business for $127. That would apply to all current locations.
The Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division has called for a public meeting on Dec. 16, and Roberts said the purpose of the hearing is two-fold.
"One is to explain what we're doing, what the fees are used for, and the second is to hear public comment," he said.
Following the Dec. 16 hearing, the fee changes will be submitted to a legislative subcommittee. The agency fee schedule, including the proposed fee changes, will then be submitted to the Legislative Executive Appropriation Committee. The legislature would then have the option to adopt the agency fee schedule as part of the annual legislative budget process.