GATESVILLE — Coryell County automobile owners soon will be able to renew their vehicle registration when they shop for groceries.

County commissioners this week approved a contract with H-E-B to make the grocery chain an agent of the county tax assessor/collector office so its stores can issue motor vehicle registration stickers.

H-E-B approached the county and asked that store employees be deputized to issue registration stickers, Tax Assessor/Collector Justin Carothers said to the commissioners Tuesday.

Enabling the stores to issue vehicle registration stickers “is a pretty common practice,” Carothers said. “Bell County has been doing it for years.”

The county will essentially open “a satellite office” in the store without having to pay for it, Carothers said.

“H-E-B wants to do it for (public relations) purposes,” Carothers said. “It is a convenience to residents.”

No special equipment is required to issue the stickers, but computer software is needed at the stores, Carothers said. “It is all done over the Internet.”

The H-E-B stores in Cove and Gatesville will mark up the regular registration fee by $1 and begin issuing the stickers as soon as they get the software set up, Carothers said.

In other actions, the commissioners agreed to purchase 10 Hart eSlate voting machines at a discount rate of $2,200, compared to $3,500 each for new machines.

Carothers, the county’s top election official, asked to buy 20 voting machines, but County Auditor Ben Roberts recommended 10 to stay within budget.

The machines will supplement the county’s 70 eSlates it already owns. The additional machines will be needed if Coryell moves to a county wide voting system that mandates electronic voting, eliminating the paper-ballot option.

Contact Tim Orwig at torwig@kdhnews.com

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