PAYETTE — Anybody who’s been to a vehicle registration or driver license office during a busy time might argue that they get crowded. Payette County Sheriff’s Lt. Andy Creech, who works with the staff at the Payette Driver License Division, witnesses this on a regular basis as he told the Payette County Board of Commissioners during their Dec. 21 meeting.
“I don’t know what the answer is. but … the building out there is too small,” said Creech. “I think you could say that for the entire courthouse, that we’ve used every available space that we have.”
According to Creech, the driver license office used to be a storage garage before being converted for this purpose.
“You can still see where the garage door [was],” said Creech. “When you look at it, the bricks are different.”
Lines frequently develop outside the office, which led to the installation of a shade awning in October.
Commissioner Marc Shigeta noted other challenges the office has had over the years.
“To do the ADA [compliance], we cut out so much space there,” he said.
Shigeta also noted that officials in Nampa are exploring new spaces for a new DMV office, which experiences significant foot traffic itself.
Creech said that a conversation with other departments needs to happen, as the courthouse has run out of available room to expand services.
“I know that in looking at other entities in our county that passing bonds and stuff … hasn’t been successful,” Creech added. “There are empty spaces that we can maybe look at leasing and moving some things off-site that make sense, that don’t necessarily need to be on-site.”
Creech indicated several possible locations to relocate services, including locations along U.S Highway 95, such as empty storefronts near Burger King. He did not, however, indicate which services should be relocated aside from the driver license office.
“I don’t know that I’m the person to tell you what that is, but I know that I wouldn’t be concentrating on building but maybe leasing or purchasing something that’s already built.”
Commissioner Reece Hrizuk noted the county has historically taken similar approaches.
“I don’t know how I stumbled upon it, but there was some listing on Main Street in Payette and all the historical uses of all the buildings and we started looking in the 60’s and it looks like the county leased a lot of buildings when they were in that little old courthouse,” said Hrizuk.
In considering possible locations for the office, County Clerk Lindsey Bratcher reminded the board to keep security in mind.
“I would just be cautious about putting a department off-site that creates a lot of revenue during the day, that they’re having to drive that revenue to my office, to put somebody out there that maybe doesn’t create a lot of revenue on a daily basis,” said Bratcher.
As this was not an action item on the board’s agenda for this meeting, no action was taken.
The driver license office has two full-time staff members and one part-time, according to Creech.