Rifle license bureau sent on down road by budget cuts | PostIndependent.com

Rifle license bureau sent on down road by budget cuts

Rifle, along with 20 other towns and cities in Colorado, will lose its driver’s license office by the end of the year, the Colorado Department of Revenue has announced. The Glenwood Springs office located at the Glenwood Springs Mall will remain.

The cuts, called an “efficiency move” by the department, were prompted by Gov. Bill Owens’ across-the-board budget cuts aimed at reducing state spending by 4 percent for the coming year. The move will cut the number of driver’s license offices by nearly a quarter.

“We expect we will, as a department, become more efficient,” Department of Revenue spokesman Steve Tool said.

The goal of the department is to close the 21 offices by Jan. 1, Tool said.

Jobs will not be eliminated as a result of the cuts, but employees at each of the offices will be reassigned. Tool said he didn’t know where the employees of the Rifle office – located at 202 Railroad Ave. in the basement of Rifle City Hall – would go.

“We’ll probably take it on a case-by-case basis,” Tool said.

The cuts are expected to save the state Revenue Department around $400,000 per year.

The Rifle driver’s license office was closed Monday, so no workers there could be reached for comment.

Most of the office closings came as a surprise to landlords renting space for driver’s license bureaus.

“That’s why we announced this 45 days in advance,” Tool said.

But in Rifle, the Revenue Department already had been asked by Rifle city officials to look for a new space for the driver’s license office. The Rifle office handled 3,137 transactions over the past year.

“We were given notice that the landlord wasn’t going to extend our lease in City Hall,” Tool said. “They offered to allow us to stay for six more months and strongly encouraged us to find another place in Rifle.”

Tool said moving more people to fewer offices will allow the 64 remaining offices to run more efficiently.

“Some of the larger offices have higher demand. People wait in long lines to get their license,” Tool said. “Expansion was done years ago. Some people thought it decentralized things too much.”

Also, Tool pointed out that Colorado licenses only need to be renewed every 10 years, people can renew by mail and Colorado residents can get their license at any office in the state.

“If they’re visiting Denver, they can get a license there,” he said.

The Glenwood Springs office is now the closest driver’s license office to Rifle. There is also an office in Grand Junction.

Four other driver’s license offices on the Western Slope will be closed: in Avon, Hotchkiss, Kremmling, and Ouray.

“The bottom line is, in times of shrinking revenues, the government has to become more efficient and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Tool said.

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