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County Treasurer fighting for veterans to receive symbol on I.D.s

Published: Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 12:00 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 12:44 p.m. CDT

Jasper County Treasurer Doug Bishop has had a busy year. The county ranks third in the state for overall cards issued by a county station. Only Dallas and Warren County rank higher.

Earlier this year, the Iowa Department of Transportation announced that veterans will now have the option to receive a status symbol that proves that they served in the military on their identification card.

Currently, veterans have to wait for their license to expire to receive the symbol on their license. Bishop is currently working with state legislators about implementing the symbol on cardholders who wish to.

“We’re presenting legislation that will allow the veterans to come up at any time, and put that on their card. They will have to pay the renewal fees. That way a lot of them will have the choice to have that designation on it — we want to make that happen for them. We are working hard to get the legislation changed.”

He said that he would be surprised if the legislation did not change. Bishop is working with a legislator and the Veterans Affairs Committee.

Veterans in Jasper County have been supportive of the military symbol, because it means they don’t have to carry additional identification to prove they served in the military to receive discounts at stores that offer it to veterans.

When Maytag left Newton, Bishop said he was worried about vehicle registration numbers but to his surprise the numbers have stayed about the same.

“I was very concerned early on, with Maytag and Iowa Telecom going out, but we really have not seen a large decrease in the numbers of car titles and registrations in Jasper County,” Bishop said.

His staff is made up of eight workers and they accomplish a lot. Last year, Bishop’s staff processed more than 11,000 cards at their driver’s license station.

In a written statement given to the Daily News, Bishop said the following about his staff:

“Our tax department handles tax collections for 29,800 parcels in Jasper County. We apportion the taxes received to 167 different separate entities every month. Our office processed $17 million in tax receipts in September alone.”

Every month, the staff sends money out to 167 different entities. That means out of a 31-day month, they distribute about five a day.

In order to meet the needs of the ever-growing technological aspects, Bishop has worked hard to make sure his staff has the appropriate training to coincide with new computer programs.

The office upgrades will be provided by the Iowa Department of Transportation.

“The DOT is getting us all new hardware (for their driver’s license process). We just put in a new fiber cable — that should increase the speed of our transactions there. We have about a 20-minute turnaround time. There are people who go to the Ankeny station that have to sit around three or four hours.”

“The entire treasurer’s office staff takes a great deal of pride in the services that are offered. As a steward of taxpayer dollars, I pledge to maintain a staff that will continue to offer the most courteous and efficient service to the local taxpayers at the lowest cost possible.”

Staff writer Matthew Shepard may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at mshepard@newtondailynews.com.

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