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Tax assessor-collector deputizes HEB employees

Grocer to begin issuing auto registration renewals this summer

Jefferson County is moving ever closer to a more convenient world for its residents, allowing citizens to take care of their tax duties outside of the County Courthouse in downtown Beaumont.

Allison Nathan Getz, Jefferson County tax assessor-collector, deputized 30 HEB employees Thursday and Friday — bringing the grocery store closer to its goal of issuing motor vehicle registration stickers by the end of the summer.

Getz said she deputized 18 Beaumont HEB employees, between the two stores on Dowlen Road and 11th Street, Thursday before heading to the Port Arthur branch on Highway 365 Friday.

Business center employees swear into the office of Tax Deputy of the State of Texas at HEB on Highway 365 in Port Arthur Friday morning. Allison Nathan Getz, Jefferson County tax assessor-collector, said the Port Arthur branch is one of three HEB stores in Jefferson County that will begin issuing motor vehicle registration renewal stickers by the end of the summer.

Business center employees swear into the office of Tax Deputy of the State of Texas at HEB on Highway 365 in Port Arthur Friday morning. Allison Nathan Getz, Jefferson County tax assessor-collector, said the Port Arthur branch is one of three HEB stores in Jefferson County that will begin issuing motor vehicle registration renewal stickers by the end of the summer.

“We’re going to deputize 12 Port Arthur employees today. They have to swear to uphold the oath as an official tax deputy for the state of Texas before they can begin training to issue vehicle registration renewals in the store,” Getz said at the Port Arthur HEB Friday morning.

Getz said she had hoped deputizing the employees at the end of the week would allow Jefferson County residents to renew their registration stickers at one of the three local HEB locations at the beginning of next week, but none of the grocery stores have received their registration equipment.

“I really wanted to give our residents this new option for renewing their registration stickers this month, but we’re still waiting on the scanner equipment to come in from the state,” Getz said. “When that equipment gets here, the HEB corporate office will train all the deputized employees, and we’ll be able to start.

“Remember, the HEB stores will only perform simple registration renewals — no new license plates or anything like that — and they can’t look up all your information like we can in the courthouse and in our other tax offices. You have to have your renewal notice from the state, and HEB needs this scanner equipment to be able to scan those barcodes in the letter.”

Getz said out of the 225,000 Jefferson County residents that renew their motor vehicle registration stickers every year, about 179,000 do so in person at the tax offices inside the Jefferson County Courthouse, the Sub-Courthouse in Port Arthur or the Mid-County location near the jack Brooks Regional Airport.

“I see this as a convenience for our residents who do renew their registration stickers in person, because it’s difficult for most people to come see us in an official tax office before we close at 4:30 p.m.,” Getz said. “By HEB being a good corporate partner for the community, our residents will have another option. They can stop by the grocery store after work or pop in over the weekend when they’re doing their regular shopping.”

Allison Nathan Getz, Jefferson County tax assessor-collector, right, poses with her first shift of business center employees at HEB in Port Arthur Friday after deputizing them as tax officials for the state, which will allow each worker to issue motor vehicle registration renewal stickers inside HEB by the end of the summer.

Allison Nathan Getz, Jefferson County tax assessor-collector, right, poses with her first shift of business center employees at HEB in Port Arthur Friday after deputizing them as tax officials for the state, which will allow each worker to issue motor vehicle registration renewal stickers inside HEB by the end of the summer.

Getz said the county’s agreement with HEB, which was filed by the Jefferson County Commissioners’ Court Monday, is only valid for those stores with a business center. The business centers are all open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, the Beaumont stores’ business centers are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the Port Arthur branch’s business center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“All of this is just a way to make things easier for our citizens,” Getz said. “When I was running for this position, I reached out to other counties to see what they were doing that we could adopt. Did they have any services or any policies we don’t have that we could utilize for our residents?

“HEB receives no compensation for this, apart from potential new customers and sales from the added foot traffic. And since this has come about, we’ve been contacted by Kroger to see if they can make a contract with us also. I’ve sent them the one we worked out with HEB, and I’m waiting to hear back from them. But right now, HEB is staying proactive. They’ll be ready to go as soon as their equipment gets here, which should allow us to start using this new option in August.”

For more information about motor vehicle registration, call the Jefferson County Tax Office at (409) 983-8310 for Port Arthur, (409) 719-5975 for Mid-County or (409) 835-8459 for Beaumont.

Twitter: @crhenderson90