Yates Co. seeks bigger share of DMV fees

Gwen Chamberlain

The Yates County Legislature is asking for a larger slice of the pie when it comes to revenues from Department of Motor Vehicle operations.

Under current law, the State of New York takes 87.3% of all fees collected from the work performed by the county-operated DMVs. Counties have received 12.7% since 1999 while the workload has increased.

County officials expect that workload to increase even more now that the Green Light NY Act has been signed into law.

Complying with the Green Light NY law, which goes into effect in December, will add more expenses to local DMV budgets, according to a resolution unanimously adopted by the legislature Nov. 12.

The law, as passed by the state senate in June, ensures that data collected by New York State DMV is not used for immigration enforcement.  The law prohibits the scanning and storing of source documents used to apply for standard licenses, and prohibits asking about the citizenship or immigration status of applicants.

Many county clerks have objected to the law, raising concerns about issuing licenses to undocumented immigrants, but a lawsuit filed by Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns seeking to block the law was dismissed Nov. 8.

Now local legislators say the state has provided no additional funding to pay for additional training needs, translation services, or foreign document verification services. Their resolution says increasing the local share of the fees will help avoid the need to increase local property taxes.

The resolution states: “There is a clear inequity present when a county DMV provides all the services, including overhead and staffing needs to fulfill these DMV services needed for state residents, yet the state takes 87.3% of the revenue generated from providing these services.”

Other business on the legislature’s agenda Nov. 12 included:

• Appointment:The legislators appointed Robert Schwarting as the Republican Election Commissioner for a term ending Dec. 31, 2021. Schwarting was first appointed Republican Election Commissioner after the death of Amy Daines in August. That term ends Dec. 31 this year. 

• Salaries: Legislators unanimously approved adjustments to four salaries based on the results of a classification and compensation study. The job titles and salaries are: Building Maintenance Supervisor, from $60,899 to $66,430; Deputy County Clerk, from $39,651 to $41,852; Director of Veterans’ Services, from $50,172 to $50,850; and Election Commissioner, from $43,541 to $50,850.

The legislature will hold a public hearing regarding the tentative 2020 county budget at 6 p.m. Nov. 21 in the legislative chambers of the county office building.