Thomaston is 250th Rapid Renewal participant

By Beth A. Birmingham | Mar 22, 2019
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham A ceremony March 22 at the Thomaston Town Office recognized the town for being the 250th Rapid Renewal participant. From left are: Donna Culbertson, motor vehicle agent; Elizabeth Cole, deputy clerk; Dan Andrews, InforME general manager; Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap; Selectman Peter Lammert; Town Manager Valmore Blastow Jr; Town Clerk Kara George; Deputy Secretary of the BMV Patty Morneault; Deirdre Berglund, project manager/municipal liaison for InforMe; and Jodell Benson, municipal finance coordinator.

Thomaston — The town of Thomaston was recognized March 22 by Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap as the 250th Rapid Renewal participant.

"Every day someone comes in and wants to use plastic," Town Clerk Kara George said. "I'm glad to get these options here for the people."

The Thomaston Board of Selectmen approved the implementation of credit/debit card processing and Rapid Renewal services at its Jan. 14 meeting, and training was held for all office personnel Feb. 28.

Offered through Northern Data Services and Information Resource of Maine, the service enables the town to accept American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa as payment for such items as fishing and hunting licenses, permits, sewer bills, property taxes and vehicle registrations.

In her proposal to Town Manager Valmore Blastow, Jr., George noted that just last fall the nearby communities of Damariscotta, Rockport, and Warren enrolled in the service.

InforME PayPort is a third-party payment processor operated by InforME, the state of Maine’s e-government provider.

An InforME administrative cost of 2.5 percent, or a $1 minimum, is added to each payment made through the service. The administrative cost pays for the operation of the service, so that there is no cost to the municipality to accept credit cards.

All customers will be informed of the additional cost amount before their payment is processed, and may choose an alternative form of payment (check or cash) if they do not want to pay the additional cost.

InforME has been processing electronic payments for Maine state and local government since 1999. All private customer data is handled securely according to the most up-to-date and stringent security standards,the state says. InforME is CyberTrust-certified, the industry gold standard for security, according to a press release from the Department of the Secretary of State.

Through Rapid Renewal, citizens can quickly and easily renew their vehicle and trailer registrations online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Residents can print temporary registrations from home that are good for 21 days and are an acceptable form of documentation until the resident receives a physical registration and stickers from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

"For people that use it, it has become a lifesaver," Dunlap said.

During the recognition, Dunlap and representatives from InforME presented a commemorative gift basket to the Thomaston team and welcomed them to the Rapid Renewal service.

George and Blastow, along with other town staff and Board of Selectmen Chairman Peter Lammert, welcomed Dunlap and Deputy Secretary of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles Patty Morneault. Representatives of InforME included General Manager Dan Andrews and Project Manager Deirdre Berglund.

While municipal participation in Rapid Renewal is optional, the service has now grown to 250 municipalities and has seen more than 1,723,392 transactions processed to date.

Rapid Renewal may be accessed online at sosonline.org, the Secretary of State’s site.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

Thomaston is 250th Rapid Renewal participant
Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, right, speaks during a ceremony March 22 recognizing Thomaston as the 250th town to adopt the Rapid Renewal system. Also shown, from left, are Town Manager Valmore Blastow Jr. and Deputy Secretary of the BMV Patty Morneault. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Gifts presented at the Thomaston Town Office March 22 by the Department of the Secretary of State for becoming the 250th town to adopt the Rapid Renewal system for its residents. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
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