After more than eight years of service, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles “Select” office at the Commissioner of the Revenue’s office in Falls Church’s City Hall shut its doors for good last Friday. This was despite the evident popularity of the service, which enabled citizens to avoid lengthy trips to a regional DMV center where large crowds and long waits are the norm to do such things as renew licenses, pick up new license plates and record car sales.
Last month, Commissioner Tom Clinton told the News-Press his office was “burned out” due to the heavy demands of running the service. He had earlier told the City Council that the yield from the project was simply insufficient to maintain the staffing needed, and in addition, more space was needed in his office to sustain it.
At the time, Clinton’s comments caught the City Council by surprise and numerous Council members expressed a desire to fix the problems to keep the service open.
But a press release from City Hall this week formally announced the closing of the service as of Oct. 31, saying the official reason for the closure was “lack of resources.”
Clinton told the News-Press that a concerted effort was subsequently undertaken to keep the service, and that even in his office, employees voted overwhelmingly to keep it if it was on a scaled-back basis.
However, DMV headquarters in Richmond said it was not willing to consider a “Select” service that operates any less than eight hours a day and five days a week, Clinton explained.
In addition, some at City Hall were gun shy about the notion that so many non-City residents availed themselves of the service. Had the portion of the funds raised been higher, this would not have been a problem, as revenues would have justified it.
“The high handed way the state’s DMV has treated our city is typical of Richmond’s arrogant approach to Northern Virginia. They take our tax dollars and send back control, unfunded mandates and inadequate support,” Falls Church Vice Mayor David Snyder said in response to the DMV Select closing here.
He added, “This must change and I will support every reasonable effort, including legislation, to rectify this unacceptable imbalance.”
It was noted that the City Council may include a call for such legislation in the annual legislative package it is now preparing for delivery to Richmond next month.
Were more space and resources made available, the City, according to this week’s press release, would consider reopening the DMV Select in the coming period.
Meanwhile, the “DMV 2 Go” full-service, handicapped-accessible DMV office on wheels is still scheduled to be at the City Hall parking lot this Friday, Nov. 7 and Friday, Dec. 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The service is open to all Virginia residents and no reservations are needed.