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Reduced Hours and Long Lines at the DMV

City of Dillingham

In April, the DMV office in Dillingham went to reduced hours -  Monday - Friday from 11:30 - 3:30 - to save costs. Those new hours, combined with the annual surge of summer customers, is making for some long waits ahead of fishing.

Audio transcript:

On Wednesday afternoon, about 10 people stood in the small lobby outside the DMV office, waiting their turn to be served.

Kent Anderson owns a sport fishing camp on the Nushagak River. He came to register the six boats he’ll be using with his guests this summer.

“All the paperwork is filled out. I just need to drop it off and pick up the stickers and I’ve been here for 45 minutes,” said Anderson. He added that he tries not to get too stressed about things like waiting, but things could be done smoother and quicker.

The waiting times are long, and customers in line before the office the closes at 3:30 routinely get turned away. A lot DMV services can be handled online, but many count on coming to the Dillingham counter in May and June for a variety of reasons, adding to the usual new license and registration traffic.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is a state office, but the City of Dillingham runs the local office through a contract with the state. The city gets a small percentage of every transaction that happens at the office, which Mayor Alice Ruby says adds up to about $40,000 dollars a year.

“But it’s costing us anywhere from $140,000 to $150,000 to operate the office, and just with the economic conditions being what they are, we just could afford to keep subsidizing the operations,” explained Ruby.

Mayor Ruby says the city had two options, either have the state pull the office out entirely or reduce the operations costs by reducing the hours.

“Reducing the hours was the compromise to keep the office open permanently, we hope,” said Ruby.

As for Kent Anderson, still waiting in line, it was well past noon by the time he finally got finished at the DMV.

“I have about six hours’ worth of errands to do before 5 o’clock,” said Anderson.

Mayor Ruby knows that seasonal demand on the office is high right now, but she asks that people remain patient with the limitations of the office.

Contact the author at matt@kdlg.org.