- Associated Press - Thursday, May 19, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A programming error made three years ago on a Department of Motor Vehicles computer system mistakenly diverted about $19 million in car registration fee revenue from the state’s general fund to local governments and school districts.

Governor Brian Sandoval’s Chief of Staff, Mike Willden, announced Thursday that the error was discovered earlier this spring and has been corrected. He said he doesn’t expect the state will have to reduce any services because the money was sent elsewhere, and won’t be requesting the money back from school districts and local government entities who were overpaid.

But going forward, schools and local governments may have to adjust their budgets.

“Counties got a three-year windfall and they will be short and will have to recalculate,” Willden said.

The error happened in 2013 when the state was setting up its My DMV web portal, which allows Nevadans to renew their registration and do other DMV business online instead of at the office. The mistake sent a portion of the fee - called the Governmental Services Tax - to the wrong accounts.

Nobody overpaid their car registration fees as a result of the glitch, officials said.

“No individual motorist was affected by this error, but we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused the local governments and school districts,” said DMV Director Terri Albertson.

The mistake was caught earlier this spring by an “alert programmer” who was updating the system to reflect new legislative changes, Willden said.

Nevada had diverted a substantial portion of the Governmental Services Tax to the general fund during the recession, but lawmakers last year directed the state to send more of that revenue back to the highway improvement fund, where it’s intended.

Willden said he didn’t know exactly who made the mistake but is asking the agency to update its protocols.

“We’ve asked DMV to put additional safeguards in place so this doesn’t occur in the future,” he said.

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