County continues to offer drivers license renewals
Published 11:24 pm Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Other than a higher volume of phone inquiries, little has changed since Crenshaw County’s satellite driver license office closed on Oct. 1.
Probate Judge Will Tate said his office would continue to do renewals, but not new licenses.
“We’re still doing the basics,” Tate said. “We’ve had a lot of questions about renewals. But, we’re still good to go here.”
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Statewide equipment upgrades announced in July will allow probate judges and license or revenue commissioners to renew STAR IDs and conduct other services that were previously only performed at driver license offices.
Tate said the thing that would hurt Crenshaw County most was there would no longer be a state examiner available once a week.
The county’s satellite office was only open on Mondays before the closure. The office handled new driving applicants.
Now, prospective drivers must travel to neighboring Pike, Coffee or Montgomery counties to be tested.
Crenshaw County was one of 31 part-time, non-state owned satellite locations to be closed. An $11 million cut in the new General Fund appropriation to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) forced the elimination of traveling driver license examiners. The examiners were reallocated to staff District Driver License Offices full-time.
Analyzing transactions performed in each location throughout the state revealed the combined efforts of the 31 part-time satellite locations accounted for less than five percent of all Alabama Driver License transactions performed by ALEA.
The busiest of these 31 satellite locations performed less than 2,000 transactions during 2014.
The reallocation of the Driver License Examiners came one day before the effective date of the General Fund Budget passed during a special legislative session.
The appropriation to ALEA was reduced in the new budget from $55,758,744 to $44,640,937.
“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. In July, I announced several advancements that will help the driver license issuance process including online scheduling, online driver 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,” said Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier. “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.”
Alabama issues an average of 1.2 million driver licenses each year. The Driver License Division is severely understaffed and has 103 vacant positions as a result of past budget cuts and attrition.
“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,” Collier said. “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. We will continue to work on ways to optimize customer convenience with our services.”
The schedules for ALEA District Driver License Offices are available online at www.alrenewal.com.
Additionally, 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.