Rural Alabama residents respond to DMV closures

Published: Oct. 1, 2015 at 1:02 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 9, 2015 at 1:44 AM CDT
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HAYNEVILLE, AL (WSFA) - On Wednesday, the DMV office in Hayneville closed early; and for good.

Even though it was only open one day a week, its presence will be missed.

"Having that one day made a difference in Lowndes County because people were looking forward to not coming or going into a larger county to get their drivers license," said Lowndes County Commissioner Chairman Robert Harris

The state budget battle d ropped ALEA's funding from $55.7 million to $44.6 million.

As a result, 31 part-time satellite operations will be closed. This is forcing some of Alabama's more rural residents into urban areas like Montgomery in order to get their license to drive.

"If you have to get in your vehicle and drive 50 miles to Montgomery or to Selma to get your license, voter registration, whatever that you might need, it's not a good thing because everyone's not driving," said Barry Bryant of Valley Grande  

In July, ALEA announced online and automated kiosks for license renewals.

Alabama's Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier said in a statement, "Since making that announcement, we have had over 40,000 transactions online. The impact of the changes due to the budget cuts will be lessened because of the implementation of these technology-based services, including online renewals."

Still, officials in those rural areas say cuts could have been made elsewhere.

"Look at other places, other than the rural counties that don't have what the other, larger counties have," Harris said. "And I think if you did a cost analysis across, it wouldn't effect the budget that much where they couldn't be open for that one day."

All of the closures are now in effect. 

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