Schenectady DMV to create dealer processing center

Schenectady County Clerk Cara Ackerley stands in front of the Department of Motor Vehicle building on State Street in Schenectady that will be transformed into a new business venture for the county Friday, January 7, 2022.
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Schenectady County Clerk Cara Ackerley stands in front of the Department of Motor Vehicle building on State Street in Schenectady that will be transformed into a new business venture for the county Friday, January 7, 2022.

The Schenectady County Department of Motor Vehicles could see its revenue double once a new dealer service area is up and running, officials said. 

The funds generated could top the revenue seen in nearby DMV locations in Fulton, Montgomery and Albany counties, officials said.

The Schenectady County Legislature voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with the project. The Legislature approved $35,000 for the project, which now has a total of $75,000 set aside for the expansion, according to county documents.

The idea for the dealer processing center came about after County Clerk Cara Ackerly was looking at what other similar counties made at their DMV locations. She noticed that a county, which she did not name, that is a little more rural and has about 50,000 less people was making around $39 million in revenue. For comparison, the Schenectady County DMV currently generates about $4 million in revenue.

Upon research she learned that facility had a program in place to process documents from local and downstate dealerships while they had free time. 

“Our office does not see times with an empty lobby and no customers waiting for service, so my team and I started thinking outside the box,” Ackerly said. 

That’s when she came up with expanding into the unused space at the department’s location at 2025 State St. 

This processing center, when fully operational, will include four additional MVR IIs (Motor Vehicle Representative) as well as an additional Motor Vehicle Supervisor,” Ackerly said. 

The department currently employs 18 people. 

“This dealer processing center will collect more revenue, establish and re-establish working relationships with local dealers who are not able to process in-office, provide additional resources and man-power for our public-facing DMV in the event of high ‘call outs,’ and in the rare instance of slow-foot traffic, will provide back-up work to keep all staff busy,” Ackerly said.

The center will have a front-facing counter for local dealerships to drop off items for processing or if they have questions.

However, the center will allow the county to establish relationships with downstate dealers to deliver bulk documents to be processed. With the county allowed to keep 12.7% of every transaction, there will be an increase to revenue, Ackerly said. 

Ackerly said the revenue generated will be at least double what the county makes now or even triple. 

Currently the county generates $4 million in revenue. The Albany District office saw just under $4.9 million in revenue for 2021, according to data provided by the state DMV office. In that same time frame, Fulton County’s DMV saw over $3.8 million and Montgomery County’s department saw over $2.3 million in revenue. 

Erie and St. Lawrence counties have similar centers to what Schenectady is looking at doing, said Tim O’Brien, a DMV spokesperson. In 2021, Erie County made over $27 million in revenue, whereas St. Lawrence County made over $34 million.

On top of getting the center up and running to generate revenue, the county also renegotiated with the state DMV offices to bulk process the county’s own registration and license renewal slips, which were previously being processed by the state. 

The Schenectady County DMV also plans to rotate who works in the center processing dealership documents and who works in the rest of the DMV office assisting customers. That will help alleviate burnout and aid in training, Ackerly said. All employees will be cross-trained on what to do in the dealer processing center and while working with the public.

Work on the center is expected to begin sometime in early 2022. During that time the DMV will operate as normal, Ackerly said. 

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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