ALEA closing 31 driver license offices

Published 12:49 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Pike County driver’s license office will remain open, despite the planned closure of more than 30 offices statewide.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency on Wednesday eliminated 31 part-time, non-state owned satellite locations – a move officials said was prompted by an $11 million cut in the new General Fund appropriation to the ALEA.

“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 Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer 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. “

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Collier said while the agency appreciates the support of those legislators who have supported the agency, “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.”

The county offices closed include the Union Springs office in Bullock County; the Luverne office in Crenshaw County; and the Greenville office in Butler County.

According to a statement released by the ALEA, Alabama issues an average of 1.2 million driver licenses each year. Analyzing transactions performed in each location throughout the state revealed the combined efforts of the 31 part-time satellite locations accounted for less than 5 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.

In July, the ALEA began offering online scheduling, online driver license renewals and duplicates, as well as self-serve kiosks and digital licensing for smart phones. Collier said these efforts will help lessen the impact of the office closings.

“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.”