Florida's fickle state-run driver database had more service interruptions Monday, and county tax collectors said they couldn't give motorists the service they deserve as taxpayers.
Monday was the first day that the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles migrated to a new cloud-based solution as part of a long-term modernization of its decades-old databases. The agency said "slowdowns" in its system affected only vehicle registrations. Driver licenses, license renewals and vehicle titles were not affected and police had full access to its data, spokeswoman Beth Frady said.
Why were only tag services affected? "We're trying to get to the bottom of that," Frady said.
Pasco Tax Collector Mike Fasano said he had to turn customers away while others will get their tag renewals returned in the mail. In a testy exchange of emails, Fasano told the state "not to insult our intelligence" after the agency called the problem "a slowdown."
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"If you can't process a registration, the system's not working," Fasano said.
In Fort Myers, Lee County Tax Collector Larry Hart posted a notice of service interruptions on his web site "due to a state system migration performed over the weekend."
"Thank you for your patience," the state told tax collectors Monday evening. "Be assured DHSMV along with our Oracle professional services partners will not rest until all issues are resolved." In most counties, elected tax collectors process licenses and tags, and even under normal conditions, some motorists wait up to three hours to get their paperwork.
Gov. Rick Scott was at the highway safety agency last Wednesday for a celebratory signing of a state employee pay raise. The new state budget Scott approved earlier includes nearly $14 million for continued upgrades to the computer systems that hold information on more than 14 million Florida drivers.