Wednesday, July 30, 2003

State stalls plans for BMV locations

Warren County trying to consolidate its auto services

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEBANON - After years of negotiations, plans for a one-stop center for titles, driving tests and other auto services could be dead.

Warren County commissioners were upset Tuesday when county Clerk of Courts Jim Spaeth told them that the state was not moving forward with plans to consolidate the services at one location.

"They made a courtesy visit to me to let me know what was going on, and that was: They're not coming," Spaeth said.

For nearly three years, the county has been talking with the state's Bureau of Motor Vehicles to centralize drivers' examinations, titles, licenses and other services at the Warren County auto title branch at 19 Dana Ave.

"It's just a terrible inconvenience to drive everywhere," said Commissioner Larry Crisenbery.

As an incentive, the county had offered not to charge the state any more rent than it paid for its Columbus Road location. The county also had the parking lot paved.

Jim Chisman, administrator of the BMV's office of field services, said in a phone interview that the bureau is concerned that the space might be too small.

"There's a size issue with us being able to fit the deputy registrar and the driver's exam into that space," he said. "But nothing is ever impossible, and we're always willing to work with the county."

Spaeth said the state also had money concerns.

The county has not received any written correspondence confirming that the deal was not feasible. County Administrator Robert Price was trying to sort the issue out Tuesday.

"I wouldn't rent it to them now if they wanted it," Commissioner C. Michael Kilburn said.

The other commissioners also were disappointed, saying they could get more rent from other interested tenants than they could from the state.


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