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Catherine Durland (845) 486-2133
Poughkeepsie, New York- Dutchess County Clerk and President of the New York State Association of County Clerks, Bradford H. Kendall, urges the New York State Assembly to pass A.8201-A “Relates to increasing the retention percentage for certain motor vehicle service fees” before the end of the legislative session today.
The bi-partisan bill, which passed in the Senate on Tuesday, provides for an equitable fee sharing arrangement between the state and counties. Under the current State law, counties retain 12.7% of the fees collected for work performed at county DMV’s and remits 87.3% to the New York State general fund. The proposal calls for 25% of the fees collected to be retained by the county. The current agreement has not been adjusted since 1999. Kendall credited Senators Ritchie and Serino for sponsoring the legislation.
The bill further addresses a funding imbalance that is a result of changing technologies where many DMV transactions can be conducted online and the State reaps approximately 98% of the revenue collected. Whereas, the more difficult and time consuming transactions are done at the local DMV offices. In many instances, these transactions conducted at county DMV’s attach no fee; instead these services cost the county to perform. The legislation also increases the county share for online transactions to 8%.
In 2014-15 the State DMV generated $1.3 billion in transactional fees, of which a surplus of $942 million went to the State’s general fund. In 51 county DMV offices, County Clerks manage and operate local Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Offices serving as agents of the State DMV Commissioner under New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law § 205. If the growing revenue gap is not addressed, county DMV revenues will continue to decline as easier, fee-based transactions are processed online leaving County Clerks with the challenge of continuing to finance operations and constituents will be left with fewer and fewer places to conduct necessary transactions.
Kendall stated, “County Clerks operate local DMV offices to serve the driving and identification needs of local residents. Clerks understand local needs and can respond to those needs more quickly than a state department can while always being mindful of taxpayer concerns and county demographics. I applaud Assembly members Barrett, Cahill and Skartados for recognizing the importance of this measure and call on their colleagues to support this legislation as well.”