How much staff for Wells DMV?
The Wells City Council met on Tuesday, April 21, for a special City Council meeting to discuss the resignation of the city’s deputy registrar of their Department of Motor Vehicles, Bobbi Jo Loggins.
With councilman John Herman joining via webcam, the council discussed at length how to adjust the city’s motor vehicle staffing. The Wells Department of Motor Vehicles was at two full-time employees with one part-time employee. After Kelsey Stevermer’s resignation, the city had advertised a part time replacement for Stevermer, but with Loggins’ resignation, the DMV will have only one part timer to handle the brunt of the business.
City administrator CJ Holl outlined both the positives and negatives of the city’s motor vehicle staff as well as challenges that would be presented as the council chose which direction to take with staffing.
Some of the positives of having a staff for the DMV is that it provides a local, convenient service to members of the Wells public; it draws people from out of town, with approximately 34 percent of renewed tabs coming from Freeborn County and other areas of Minnesota; it provides jobs; staff can assist with city office business like fielding questions and cover the front counter; the city received dollars from the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System in 2019 but it was a one-time funding.
One of the negatives was that with the current coronavirus measures, most of the transactions with the DMV staff is through mail and online transactions.
“We only get fees for in-person transactions,” said Holl. “And what is usually a pretty quick process has been slowed quite dramatically. People have to put their items in our deposit box and whatever is put in there cannot be touched for a 24-hour-period. After those 24 hours, we then can check the paperwork to see if the person has everything filled out properly. If they don’t, we have to contact them, get the right information and paperwork, keep it in quarantine for another 24-hours and then send it off. It’s a very time-consuming process lately. And as more online or mail-in services are used, the city may see more decline in revenues.”
Other drawbacks to the city’s DMV included the closing of Blake Greenfield. Holl shared this hurt the city’s tabs and licensing business which has an effect on the city’s revenue; and with drivers license bureaus being busy with enhanced licenses and REAL?ID that have been issued, the question was whether these licenses, which only get renewed every four years, will be sustainable for the city’s revenue.
Some of the challenges the city now faces is that there is not enough staff to fully open the DMV effectively. Council questioned what would be a beneficial amount of staffing.
Getting a new deputy registrar will take valuable time in order to train them and get them to the level Loggins was at, shared Holl. And, if the staff would not be completely refilled as it was, the city staff would have to reallocate duties among the current office staff.
“There’s nobody else in the office that can help?” asked Crystal Dulas. “I mean, we’ve got the police officers that can help, Jennie can help, you can help.”
“We have full-time jobs that we are already doing,” said Deputy City Clerk Jennie Kloos. “I already took Megan’s position…”
“So do the police officers, but they’re helping,” interrupted Dulas.
“I’m saying that for an extended period of time, that would be quite hard to do,” responded Kloos.
“Well, right, and not necessarily extend it, but so we can open the doors and get income for when its time to fully open,” said Dulas.
“Anytime, just like if we open up, we’d have to send those staff to be trained,” added Mayor David Braun. “Just at least so our office is open so we don’t lose more customers.”
“We can help with tabs and some licensing and stuff, however, there’s a lot to it that not even a half-time person is going to be able to keep up even with our help,” said Holl. “We are not trained like our deputy registrar was. We only have limited knowledge of the processes involved.”
Logistics of alleviating backlogs and other department concerns were discussed among the council as they struggled to find a solution that would fit the needs of the citizens of Wells and the city’s budget.
Ultimately, the Wells City Council decided to interview and hire for one full-time motor vehicle position and continue their efforts on hiring a part-time person.
Other topics discussed at the special meeting include:
Appointing Bill Schuster to the Planning and Zoning Board. Schuster will have a five-year term on the board through 2024.
Approved Resolution 2020-10, which states the city will complete a speed study on Highway 22 and Highway 109. The city has formally requested a speed study be completed on Highway 22 and Highway 109 from a half mile north of the city limits to a half mile south of the city limits on Highway 22 and from a half mile west to a half mile east of the city limits on Highway 109 to determine the reasonable and safe speed limit for the roadways.
The next regular Wells City Council meeting is scheduled for April 27.