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Chairman’s Corner: DMV and County Clerk

May 9, 2018 11:41 am Updated: May 9, 2018 12:04 pm

For many Columbia County residents, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Office of the County Clerk may be the most familiar of all county departments. On an average day, 60 to 100 customers pass through the two departments.

Last year, DMV rang up 83,000 transactions, 43,000 of which were registration-related. All in all, DMV activity accounted for the collection of $1.16 million in sales tax, which directly benefits the county budget as well as the budgets of the county’s 18 towns.

Key to that, points out County Clerk Holly Tanner, who oversees both of the departments, is that the importance of residents to process their DMV transactions – including renewals — at the county department can’t be overstated. Why is that? If, for instance, renewals are returned to the state in the pink envelope provided in the mail, that revenue is kept by the state. If the business is done locally, a significant portion of that revenue remains in the county, which has a positive impact on the county and local budgets.

Tanner advises that when it comes to motorized vehicles to be careful with ownership documents. Titles should be kept in a safe place. Also, for those who have been issued license plates, continuous insurance must be maintained.

Currently, county DMV is in the midst of helping residents get squared away with the enhanced drivers’ license or REAL ID requirements -- as part of measures instituted through Homeland Security measures, after October 1, 2020, only the Enhanced or REAL ID will be accepted to get on a domestic flight, enter certain federal buildings or military bases. Until that date, a standard license can be used to board a domestic flight, or for photo identification purposes.

For county seniors, the Keeping the Identity of Seniors Safe (K.I.S.S.) document shredding program was undertaken several years ago by Tanner. Designed, as the name says, to help keep seniors safe, she suggests the shredding of bank statements, bills, receipts, legal documents, investment information and anything with account numbers, PINs, signatures, Social Security numbers and your date of birth. K.I.S.S. is available at every town hall four times a year – check with your town clerk for the dates.

On the county clerk side, anything having to do with land – including deeds, mortgages, and easements -- must be recorded with the clerk’s office. At present, all records dating to 2004 are available online via the county clerk page on the Columbia County website. In addition, the county clerk serves as clerk of Supreme Court and County Court records, with most of these documents now transmitted via email, eliminating the time and expense of mailing or in-person delivery.

For veterans, the county clerk’s office will hold secure discharge form DD-214. At the same time, the office will issue a discount card honored by many local merchants.

Regardless the need, in most cases the county clerk’s office handles the issue in an efficient fashion, along with a friendly attitude.

Reach Matt Murell at