Keeping more local money in counties
YATES COUNTY—It makes a difference where a resident chooses to renew their drivers license. When a resident renews their driver’s license for another eight year period, they can either take their information to their local department of motor vehicles (DMV) or have it processed through Albany. What many people do not realize is their home county gets a much larger percentage of the transaction when residents stop in at the county DMV office.
Here are the numbers: It costs $64.50 to renew a drivers license. When a person renews at the county building, Yates County retains $8.19, or a 12.7 percent cut of the $64.50. When a Yates County resident renews online, the county gets nothing for the first $170,000 worth of online transactions. After that, the county then gets to retain only $1.29 from the renewal.
“There is a threshold, [...] what they are figuring their basic fees are,” Yates County DMV Supervisor Lois Hall said. “After that dollar amount we will get 2.5 percent. We used to get 4 percent. If you do mail it in [locally] or come in to the local office, the county would retain 12.7 percent.”
Hall said the threshold number for Yates County is $170,000 for 2014. She said the county has to get to that point in internet transactions before the county gets anything. Hall said any type of transaction done within the office, including things like license renewals, vehicle registrations and permit applications the county automatically retains 12.7 percent of the amount charged. She said the fee for a basic license renewal is $64.50, which is the same amount both locally and online.
“If they renew their licenses locally or registrations locally, the county would retain 12.7 percent of the fees,” Hall said. “That goes to offset the cost of your county taxes and whatever revenues the county can bring in to offset that is a good thing.”
Hall said the system went into place Jan. 27, 2014, with the county receiving a 4 percent cut after the threshold from online transactions prior to that date. She said the state held the money until the end of the year and sometimes the state would receive $200 from it. Hall said the county retained $11,000 in January alone from transactions, which is a far higher number than what the county usually receives in online transaction fees from the state. Hall said the department conducts anywhere between 100 and 150 transactions a day, which has a quicker turnaround for customers than if they do it online.
“They come in the office and walk out with their documents,” Hall said. “They don’t have to wait up to a month to get them in the mail. It’s cost-effective for them to do it here. It saves them money down the road. To do them here benefits the county and benefits the people.”
“Licenses and registrations, the more they renew online through Albany, the less money the county DMV gets, and that keeps us open,” Schuyler County DMV Supervisor Scott Little said. “Eventually they might get rid of the county offices and everything is online and through Albany.”
Little said the county receives 12.7 percent of the transaction money for things like license renewals, permits and fines if renewed locally.
“If they do it through the state, the county may see some of it, but only after I believe a $130,000 threshold of online registrations and license renewals,” Little said. “Then the county might see a very small percentage of that after they make that mark.”
Little said the county received 4 percent of the online transaction fees in 2013 once the county reached the predetermined mark. He said if the county does not go over the threshold, they receive no money from the online transactions. The state has recently changed the 4 percent the counties receive to 2.5 percent as of January 2014.
“They started this I think a year or two ago, and we meet the threshold with people doing transactions through Albany or online usually in November,” Little said. “And then the county got 4 percent after that for like the last month. Basically, the county will get $400 to $500 from that, where if they came in and did it, the county would get in the neighborhood of $17,000 to $18,000. It’s a significant difference. That’s what we are missing out on with people renewing online.”
Little said the department does between, 23,000 and 25,000 transactions locally each year, including license renewals, vehicle registrations, permits and all other transactions. He said the county receives a 12.7 percent cut from all of them. Little said the cost to renew a standard license is $64.50. He said pricing does not differ between locally and online, only the amount of money received from the transaction along with time it takes to process the application.
“People who come in and actually renew a license or registration here, we print out the registration here and hand it to you,” Little said. There is no chance of it getting lost in the mail because it is handed directly to you. If you come in and renew your license here, we don’t actually make the licenses here but we will give you a temporary paper one so you have something to show right then.”
Little said he encourages people in the community to come in and renew locally if they have the chance. He said doing so makes a big difference in the amount of revenue the county generates as opposed to what they get through the state.
“I understand why a lot of people do it for the convenience factor or their schedule doesn’t match up with ours [...] but it is more beneficial if they do come into the office,” Little said.