Jacob Leverenz's order from the drive-through window came with an unexpected twist — a license plate.
Leverenz drove from his parents' home in Eden Prairie to renew his tabs Monday at Carver County's service center in Chanhassen. Leverenz, 28, thought he would have to go inside the building and wait in line, but instead he simply pulled his gray minivan up to the center's drive-through service window and within minutes had new tabs and a license plate.
Service centers are now offering drive-through services for tabs across the suburbs to save time, ease lobby congestion and keep customers out of the cold.
"It's a lot more convenient; waiting at the DMV typically takes hours," Leverenz said. "It really expedites the whole process."
The demand for the service in Chanhassen has led county officials to approve the addition of a drive-through to the service center in Chaska.
"With our growing business in both facilities, it does allow us to serve customers through the drive-through as opposed to entering in through the lobby and causing more lobby traffic," said Laurie Davies, Carver County taxpayer services manager, who oversees the service center.
The lunch hour is the busiest time at the Chanhassen center, which serves about 60 customers a day via drive-through.
The Carver County Board approved the drive-through addition to the Chaska center on Aug. 2. At the meeting, Commissioner Randy Maluchnik said he often received complaints from residents about the building.
"This will provide more customer service for the folks that use that license center," he said during the meeting.
Adding the drive-through to the building would cost the county $68,270.
Maple Grove is the only Hennepin County-run service center with a drive-through window. The county moved into the current service center in 2006. The center, which is attached to a bank, had a drive-through in place already. The county decided to keep the window and use it for tab services.
"It is very popular with our customers," Kathy Schons, service center division manager for Hennepin County. "It has slightly different hours of operation because we have to staff it a little differently."
Not all services can be accomplished via the Maple Grove drive-through. If a service requires verification of identity or a notarization, visitors have to step into the center.
In central Minnesota, Stearns County is expanding its already popular drive-through service center. The county built its Waite Park center with a drive-through in 2009. The county has seen a steady increase since opening the center, said David Walz, Stearns County division director for service centers and elections. About 1,600 visitors passed through the drive-through in May.
Now, the county is looking into adding a second lane with a vacuum tube for tabs and license plates.
"We found a vendor that can shoot a license plate through a tube, just like at the bank," Walz said.
When renewing tabs, drivers often find out they need a new license plate as well because plates must be replaced every seven years. The vacuum tube would let them do both at the window.
Stearns County could install a second lane as soon as 2017.
"It seemed like a good idea at the time, and we tried it," Walz said. "I never thought we would hit 70 [visitors] a day."