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Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert sheds light on title department and temporary pause on car registration

Update on Riverdale County Clerk location funding can't be released based on "attorney-client" privilege, Halbert said.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Customers continue to wait for the newest Shelby County Clerk’s office to open, months after it was supposed to be up and running. Clerk Halbert spoke with ABC24 briefly about the Riverdale office and it’s nearly three month miss of the deadline Mayor Lee Harris set for October 31, 2022.

In early January 2023, Halbert said she planned to request more money in her upcoming meeting with the county commission, but now, she said she can’t talk about it.

“I can’t talk about [the funding for the new location] yet because it was attorney client [privilege],” Halbert said.

As the Riverdale location waits to open it’s doors, the downtown office is scaling back it’s services. The Clerk’s office says the downtown location will close motor vehicle registration and title departments to the public until February 3rd, but Halbert said the timeline could be shorter.

“Right now, we’re projecting two weeks but we’re not sure, hopefully we’ll get it done by the end of this week,” Halbert said.

She said although the downtown office’s title department is closed to the public, individuals can still come drop any paperwork off, they just won’t get same-day assistance.

“I do know that they were catching up on some of their title work as well, making sure they stay on top of that,” Halbert said.

Halbert blames the uptick in car sales during tax season last year as the reason for a setback in the title department. This year, they’re trying to stay ahead of the game.

“Even though February – March is where that income tax season really starts, we noticed an abundance on top of having to do all of the plates,” Halbert said. “I think that’s what really knocked us out of the way. But not being as prepared for the new car sales is something that we have to make sure that we stay on top of.”

No matter the circumstances, the title office will remain open for dealerships.

“It’s not open to the public downtown,” Halbert said. “That’s the only difference, we have auto dealers both in-state and out of state and we cannot let our auto deals get out of whack.”

Halbert said she will let the public know when the downtown office is reopened to the public.

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