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Handicap hangtag shortage has no quick resolution in Lafayette County

A shortage in handicap decals across the state has created problems for many in Lafayette County.

Lafayette County Tax Assessor Sylvia Baker said that the issue began shortly after Labor Day when the county ran out of permanent handicap placards.

“I do apologize, but it’s really out of our hands,” Baker said, adding that the county orders its placards from the Mississippi Department of Revenue.

Currently, Lafayette County is out of temporary placards, the sort issued for individuals with temporary disabilities. Temporary placards are valid for six months from the date issued.

Last Thursday, the county received a shipment of 600 permanent handicap placards, though Baker said that the supply will not last long.

In September, Lafayette County issued 821 handicap placards, but records could not determine how many were temporary and how many were permanent.

However, Baker said that the number was likely higher than a normal month due to the expiration of many placards.

“Permanent placards sometimes cause confusion for customers,” Baker said. “They still have an expiration date. Those placards are only valid for five years.”

In an effort to find more placards, Baker called to neighboring counties and had 10 temporary hangtags given to Lafayette County from Yalobusha County.

“Those were gone in one day,” Baker said.

The problem seems to be state-wide, Baker said. According to the phone calls she made, Pontotoc County and Tate County each have 20 temporary placards left while Desoto and Panola counties are also out of placards.

The Mississippi DOR thus far has not given Lafayette County a timeline for when to expect an adequate supply of either type of placard. The DOR did not respond to an interview request by deadline.

However, Baker said she has talked to local law enforcement and all departments will allow those with expired placards to forgo a ticket through the month of October due to the shortage.

“I also want to encourage everyone to call the office before coming to see if we have gotten the temporary placards in,” Baker said. “We don’t want anyone to waste a trip to Oxford only to be told we don’t have any.”

The Lafayette County Tax Collector’s can be reached by phone at 662-234-6006. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m..