Wait just got longer

The budget the Mesa County commissioners are scheduled to approve next week likely includes $1.2 million in new spending for the Sheriff’s Office and about $300,000 more for the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office.

The needs for those two agencies have been well documented.Meanwhile the county anticipates decreased revenue of $1.5 million in 2017. No single department can cough up a $3 million budget fix, so it’s trim here and trim there.

Few of us will notice the cuts with one notable exception. Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner closed two satellite offices that offered in-person Division of Motor Vehicle services, including the Clifton branch that handled 23 percent of the county’s monthly business.

Reiner reduced her own budget by 8 percent, saving the county about $165,000. Obviously every little bit helps to make up a budget shorftfall, but this cut arguably hurts more than it helps based on human behavior.

Fair or not, many people will judge the efficiency of state and county government (and bureaucracy in general) based on DMV wait times. It’s the reason so many states are obsessed with improving the customer experience. The website DMV.com keeps tabs on average wait times by state.

Locally, ours will take a hit. The current wait time is 15 minutes. Now that all DMV business is being funneled into a single location, 200 S. Spruce St., Reiner is hoping the wait won’t be more than 30 minutes. For many taxpayers, a trip to the DMV is the sole experience from which they’ll form an impression of county government.

The public can save themselves having to wait in line by utilizing the state’s online license plate renewal system. A Department of Revenue pilot project will add a kiosk at the Spruce Street office to handle simple DMV transactions, which should also help.

Consider our DMV capacity a reflection of the economy. Of the 10 largest counties in Colorado, only Mesa County and Pueblo County have a single office. Enough said.


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