Budget cuts could close license examiners’ offices

Published 12:28 am Saturday, August 29, 2015

If a proposed budget by the Alabama Legislature were to pass, residents might should expect changes in where they go to get a driver’s license and perform other related tasks.
A budget proposed by the Alabama House calls for a $16 million cut for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and if it passes, Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier said he would begin closing driver’s license offices across the state, including in Marengo County.
The initial wave of closures would come in October and affect 33 offices. By March of 2016, only four offices would remain with those being in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery.
“Currently, ALEA maintains 75 Driver License district and field offices across the state but budget allocations do not cover costs and we operate with an $8.2 million deficit,” said Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier. “During the 2015 Regular and First Special Sessions, the Legislature proposed General Fund budget cuts ranging from 22 to 47 percent cut from ALEA’s fiscal year 2015 appropriation. Should the Legislature pass devastating budget cuts, it will be necessary for the Licensing Division to close Driver License district and field offices statewide.”
According to Marengo County Probate Judge Laurie Shoultz Hall, the closures would impact license examiners’ offices across the state and that license renewals will still be available through the probate office and online at alea.gov.
“The license examiner’s office is where you would go to take a driver’s license test and where you would go to get a driver’s license after having lived out of state. We send people there every week,” Hall said.
Currently the Marengo County examiner’s office in Linden is open on Thursdays and Fridays.
According to the phases of closures provided by ALEA, the Marengo County examiner’s office would be among those closed in the second phase, which is scheduled to take place January 1.
“(The closures) are subject to the budget issues being resolved,” Hall said. “It will only happen if the budget issues aren’t resolved. If they are not, then ALEA would begin the process of closing these examiners’ offices.