Proposed downtown DMV's fate lies with budget vote

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Monroe County is on the verge of having a downtown DMV, once again. County Clerk Adam Bello announced his plan to open an office at a press conference this morning.

First, however, the County Legislature needs to pass the 2017 county budget without removing funding that Bello's office set aside for the effort.

The Legislature meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday and will vote on the county budget then.

Bello wants to renovate lobby space in City Place, 50 West Main Street, for the DMV office. That's also where a county mobile DMV unit sets up every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. His office would end mobile DMV services at the county parks office in Highland Park, which Bello said is inaccessible to bus users and people with disabilities. It also has 25 percent fewer customers than the City Place location, he says.

Bello's proposal calls for two additional cashiers at City Place. The full-time office would be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily; the DMV branch offices in Henrietta, Greece, and Irondequoit have the same hours. The city mobile units are open from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., since staff have to set up and take down needed equipment each day.

"Rochesterians deserve full-time, reliable DMV services," Bello said during a press conference this morning.

The state operated a DMV office at the Sibley Building until 2003. When the state shut it down, the county rolled out the mobile DMV's as an alternative. But the arrangement has proven confusing, inconvenient, and inequitable. Users aren't always sure of where they have to go, and not everyone has Internet access to find out, Mayor Lovely Warren said during the press conference.

The mobile offices also can't perform all of the same transactions as the suburban offices do, and transportation to and from a mobile DMV can be difficult. It may take a person an hour or two to get from downtown to one of the suburban offices by bus, which makes simple DMV business an all-day affair, Warren said.

"We want a place that's accessible," Warren said.

Warren and Bello also said the office is needed because more people are living and working downtown.


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