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County driver’s license office shut down

Butler County’s driver’s license office is now officially closed.

In August, Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier announced that unless the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency received level funding from lawmakers, his office would be forced to close driver’s license offices across the state.

On Wednesday, he made good on that promise.

Thirty-one satellite driver license offices around Alabama were closed due to an $11 million cut in ALEA’s budget.

“Throughout the 2015 Legislative sessions, we communicated our concerns to the Legislature, the news media and the public by addressing the ongoing shortage of Driver License Division personnel created by past budgets and our ability to meet the needs of citizens should additional cuts be imposed,” said Collier. “Additionally, we took a proactive approach to solve a decade old funding issue with the Driver License Division’s operations by increasing the cost of the driver license to recoup a portion of the cost it takes to actually produce the license. The Legislature then reduced ALEA’s General Fund appropriation by the projected recoupment revenue thereby negating the proactive steps taken by the agency. We appreciate the support of those Legislators that have helped our agency and strive to provide the most efficient use of the taxpayer’s dollars. With the new budget cuts passed by the Alabama Legislature for fiscal year 2016, and with our limited personnel, travel has been eliminated to these part-time satellite locations. Driver License Examiners will be utilized to staff District Driver License Offices full-time and will no longer provide staffing to these 31 county owned, satellite locations.”

Along with Butler County, offices in Baldwin, Bibb, Bullock, Chambers, Cherokee, Choctaw, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Crenshaw, Escambia, Fayette, Franklin, Geneva, Greene, Hale, Henry, Lamar, Lawrence, Lowndes, Macon, Perry, Pickens, St. Clair, Sumter, Tallapoosa, Washington, Wilcox and Winston Counties have been closed.

The Butler County Probate Office will continue to provide renewal and replacement of driver’s licenses, but new licenses or licenses that need to be reinstated will have to be issued by an office out of the county.

“Since the Jan. 1, 2015, implementation date of ALEA, my staff and I have worked hard to make improvements and optimize customer convenience to the citizens of Alabama,” said Collier. “In July, I announced several advancements that will help the driver’s license issuance process including online scheduling, online driver’s license renewals and duplicates, self-serve kiosks, digital licensing for smart phones and statewide equipment upgrades. Since making that announcement, we have had over 40,000 transactions online. The impact of the changes due to the budget cuts will be lessened because of the implementation of these technology-based services, including online renewals.”

There is a catch on renewing your driver license online, however. Every eight years, citizens must go in person to an examination office to update their photo.

To help citizens who currently utilize these part-time, satellite locations, ALEA has developed an interactive Citizen Services Locator Map that will identify and locate the closest office and the services it provides. Citizens can access the Citizens Services Locator Map by visiting www.alrenewal.com.