By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
IUKA – Driver’s license renewal is no longer available in Iuka, and that doesn’t sit well with residents.
Seventy-seven-year-old Al Shadburn said there are too many elderly Tishomingo County residents on a fixed income who really can’t afford to drive the 60 miles or more round trip to Corinth when it’s time for license renewal.
“A lot of people, the only place they drive is to the grocery store and to the doctor, and they should be able to get their license renewed at the county seat here in Iuka,” Shadburn said.
The distance county residents must travel for driver’s licenses is also a sore point with the district’s state legislators, said Rep. Bubba Carpenter.
“They were going to take it completely out of Tishomingo County, but Sen. Eric Powell and I fought it,” Carpenter said. “We told Maj. Jennings in Jackson that this is not right. For somebody who lives in Carter’s Branch on Highway 30 east, the drive to Corinth is 60 to 70 miles round trip.”
A concession by Jennings and the Mississippi Highway Patrol brought service two days a month to Burnsville.
The Burnsville City Hall had recently moved into a renovated building with plenty of room, Carpenter said. Service for license renewal only is available there each second and fourth Wednesday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
“Mayor David Nixon was gracious enough to offer that building,” Carpenter said. “The reason they came out of the courthouse in Iuka was there was no parking and the patrol woman who ran that office said there was some problem with the room they were in. After Maj. Jennings came up from Jackson and drove the distance himself from Carter’s Branch, they allowed the two days a month in Burnsville.”
Carpenter said he and Powell continue to work on the issue, and a highway patrol spokesman said another change that takes effect soon also should help.
“As of Oct. 1, they’ll be able to renew for eight years because of new legislation,” said public safety spokesman Jon Kalahar. License renewals until now have been for four years, and drivers will be able to choose to continue renewing for four years for $21 or for eight years for $43.
In addition to in-person renewals at specific locations, certain drivers may renew licenses online or use kiosks that have been installed at many sites around the state.
“There’s not really a perfect solution to it,” Kalahar said. “We tried to make it so people won’t have to do it as often.”