County legislature approves new equipment at Putnam DMV

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CARMEL – Business is booming at the Putnam County DMV office in Southeast with hundreds of customers visiting the office each day.

In an attempt to alleviate the long lines and wait time for customers to complete their DMV transactions, County Clerk Michael Bartolotti asked the county legislature last week for a budgetary amendment totally $9,500 allowing his department to purchase an additional computer work station and peripherals from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles to increase efficiency and productivity.

The request was approved by both the Rules Committee and the Audit and Administration Committee and was forwarded to the full legislature for its approval on February 4.

Bartolotti told the lawmakers “our office has been seeing historically large amounts of customers each day due to both Project Green Light as well as the looming REAL ID deadline. Both transactions are more involved and complicated than other transactions and take longer to complete.  The combination of the longer processing time with historic increases in daily customer traffic has resulted in long wait times that must be addressed.”

Since the state’s new Green Light law went into effect last month, business has more than doubled at the local facility. “We used to service anywhere from 175 to 200 customers a day. Since the law became effective, we are servicing upwards of 500 patrons daily seeking permit test appointments, reciprocities, license renewals and those trying to beat the Real ID deadline,” said the clerk.

To complicate matters, Dutchess County officials have ordered their offices including one operated in Pawling not to handle any DMV business except for Dutchess residents.

A number of Putnam County residents were turned away and contacted State Senator Peter Harckham whose staff reported the incidents to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, which indicated the Pawling office must process applications for all eligible customers regardless of their county of residency.

The Putnam DMV office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Bartolotti told the committee members when his Deputy County Clerk Christine Wooley arrives each morning before dawn to prepare for the day ahead, customers are already lined up. “She has counted as many as seven to 10 people waiting at 6:45 a.m. for the office to open,” he said.

Bartolotti said while his staff is “doing the best it can under the circumstances, my concern is for the spring and early summer when the deadline approaches for the license Real ID.”