DMV Expansion In Alachua County
GAINESVILLE - Long lines at the state's department of motor vehicles are usually inevitable. However Alachua County residents can soon expect shorter wait times and more locations to get or renew their driver's license. The DMV will be closing down and merging with the Tax Collector's office instead.
It's part of a Florida legislature mandate. By june 30th, 2015 all driver licenses services in Florida will be taken up by the local Tax Collector's offices. Alachua County is starting those changes the first week of February in the Tax Collector's office in Downtown, Gainesville.
"This DMV is tough to deal with." Kurt Kazlauskas, a Gainesville resident says he passes the state Department of Motor Vehicle office every morning before dropping his kids off to school. "At like 7:30 in the morning, there's people stacked up even when it's freezing cold outside or raining. When i've had to use this office, it's been packed and it's been a nuisance," Kazlauskas says.
And it's not a pretty sight. Currently driver's license services are offered by the state at one location in Alachua County. With only 11 people on staff. This won't be the case for much longer though. A law passed in 2011 mandates that all state DMV's merge with the Tax Collector's office.
John Power, Chief Deputy for the Alachua County Tax Collector's office says residents will now have three choices. The Downtown office, Butler Plaza and the office on 34th Street.
"The tax collector will have over 35 customer service employees, handling the same amount of transactions... We are very confident that we will be able to handle it and deliver efficient services. It's definitely going to be a win for the community," Power says.
"The state driver's license office behind me on nw 34th street will close down on March 8th. However on March 11th, the Alachua County Tax Collector's office across the street will provide the same driver's license services.
Providing these services will cost the alachua county tax collector's office $400,000 a year. The Tax Collector's office will be receiving $350,000 from the state in fees for their services, however they're still $50,000 short, that will have to come from the Tax Collector's general budget.
However power says with a new proposal that may not be the case. "The state has proposed a fee structure change effective July 1st, 2015 that should enable us to break even in providing these services," Power says.
The butler plaza office will start providing driver's license services in may. Before the merger, the Tax Collector's office helped about 150,000 walk-ins a year. Power says that with the new changes he expects a 30 percent increase in transactions.
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