Hoping to better serve residents of the northern part of the county and increase revenue, Warren County Clerk Pam Vogel has proposed opening a mobile “satellite” state Department of Motor Vehicles office for up-county residents.
The office would be open on a set schedule, likely once a week or a few times a month, in a site to be determined in the northern part of the county.
Vogel said it would cost about $3,000 for the equipment — mainly a laptop computer to hook into the DMV network and printer — needed to create a mobile office to take to other locations.
The program is modeled after one that Washington County began in June, where the county clerk’s office takes equipment on the road once a week to municipal buildings to cut travel time for residents of the northern or southern parts of the county.
“It seems to be a customer-friendly way to serve the public,” Vogel said.
It not only helps residents, but it also can help the county keep DMV revenue from going to the state. Most of the revenue from online DMV transactions goes to the state, but counties get 12.7 percent of the fees when the transaction is done locally.
Details of the plan, such as where the staff may set up the temporary office, were still to be determined. The county Board of Supervisors has given tentative approval and will consider the proposal at its Oct. 21 meeting.
Washington County Clerk Stephanie Lemery said she pushed for the mobile office program in Washington County after a resident of Easton suggested it and pointed to a similar program in Rensselaer County while she was campaigning last year.
So twice a month on Wednesdays, her staff sets up at Greenwich Town Hall, once a month at Whitehall Town Hall and once a month at Granville Village Hall.
Lemery said the staff takes license plates with them to issue to those registering vehicles, but can’t take photos for driver’s licenses. The camera for those photos costs about $15,000, and she said the expense seemed too high.
The feedback has been good.
“It’s working great. We have been getting some really positive comments,” Lemery said.
Lemery said Essex County officials recently visited Washington County to get more information about the mobile office for possible use there.
Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on poststar.com/app/blogs.
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