After a somewhat bumpy start, appointment-only, one person at a time, in-person Department of Motor Vehicle transactions will be available in both Fulton and Montgomery counties Monday.
Montgomery County's DMV has already been open for a full week. Montgomery County Clerk Brittany Kolbe announced her DMV would open for in-person county residents only service on June 12 as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Phase 3 un-pausing of the Mohawk Valley Region.
Kolbe said when she announced her DMV was allowing in-person transactions on her official "Montgomery County Clerk Brittany Kolbe" Facebook page, the post was shared 240 times, reaching more than 19,000 people. Since then, she said her office was inundated with 200 to 300 calls per day, some from other parts of New York state, "from other counties as far as Buffalo and NYC," and even from residents from other Montgomery Counties in different states like Maryland, Georgia and Indiana.
"People in other counties, even in NYC, were willing to drive to us just so they could get an appointment," she said.
Kolbe said none of the personnel in her office have been furloughed, and they've been providing services to customers via the mail and the county's drop box since March 24.
"However, before taking in-person appointments, we were at half staff on any given day — we staggered work schedules — so we are still playing catch-up with mail and drop-box transactions," she said. "Additionally, we were taking work from the state while they were shut down, and have been taking work from other counties."
Kolbe said in-person transactions are limited to county residents only, but her office has been able to generate revenue by taking in other transactions via the mail or drop box from residents of other counties and from the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
Kolbe said her staff is working to keep the pace of the in-person appointments swift.
"We are scheduling 3 appointments per half hour, which is what we can manage with the size of our office while practicing social distancing," she said.
Fulton County's DMV is reopening for the first time today since the coronavirus pandemic shut down services at its 223 West Main St. office.
Fulton County on June 5 had announced that it had to scrap a prepared safety plan for reopening its county clerk's office after New York state prohibited in-person transactions for the DMV as part of Phase 2. When DMV's were allowed to reopen as part of Phase 3, Fulton County waited an additional week.
Fulton County Clerk Linda Kollar announced the reopening of Fulton County's DMV at 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, stating that appointments can be made for in-person transactions using a "new website-based appointment system available at the county's website fultoncountyny.gov."
The webpage of the Fulton County's clerk's office includes a link to an online form at a website called "login.nowaitinside.com." The form asks Fulton County residents to provide their names, email addresses, date for their appointment and mobile phone numbers, while agreeing to receive text messages and phone calls with information related to the appointment.
"The online appointment service is for Fulton County residents only," Kollar stated in the release. "Most driver's license transactions are urged to use the drop box on Main Street or mail, if possible. This partial re-opening is for appointments only and walk-in service is not available yet.
An announcement on the resumption of full public access to DMV services, including walk-in service, is expected to be made within the next two weeks."
Kollar included her county clerk phone number, (518) 736-5555, but residents were not asked to call it to set up appointments.
Kolbe has offered multiple ways to book appointments for the in-person transactions, but not the online form system being used by Futon County.
To register an appointment by phone, Kolbe has set up an appointment line at (518) 752-9913. Another option is by email, using the link available at www.co.montgomery.ny.us/web/
"Please remember when calling the appointment line, it is an APPOINTMENT LINE ONLY," Kolbe posted in a recent social media message. "Please do not call the appointment line for status updates on your transaction or general questions."
Kolbe on June 15 Kolbe released this list of "pointers" on social media to address issues her office has run into since the partial re-opening:
- We are Montgomery County NEW YORK, not MARYLAND
- Please pick up when we return your message/call, we unfortunately do not have the time or staffing to play phone tag
- We may call you back after business hours, as late as 7 p.m., in order to keep up with demand
- If you do not hear back from us after 2 business days, it's likely that your voicemail cut out and we couldn't hear your phone number
- We WILL get back to you (as long as we know your phone number) PLEASE be patient as we are doing the best we can
- Do NOT call the appointment line for an update on your dropbox transaction
Kolbe said the staff in her department have been the key to the success of partially reopening the DMV.
"I'm incredibly grateful to our staff for all of their hard work during these uncertain, and sometimes scary, times," she said. "They volunteered to continue to work during the shut down to ensure that the services we provide didn't stop entirely."
It remains uncertain how many staff members are available at the Fulton County Clerk's office and its DMV. In May Fulton County announced it would be issuing temporary furloughs for between 60 and 75 county employees.
Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Greg Young said he believes some have been, but he can't be certain.
"The full board did not get a list of specific positions to be furloughed," Young said. "We were told that all departments, except for a small number deemed essential, would be subject to furloughs."