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October 22, 2021 - 10:04am

County clerk: New York needs to revamp revenue-sharing formula to fairly compensate local DMV offices

county_building_1.jpg

With revenues from auto dealer work on the decline, Genesee County Clerk Michael Cianfrini is hoping for a change in New York State’s revenue-sharing practices as well as participation in a pilot program to provide a much-needed boost for local Department of Motor Vehicle offices.

Cianfrini, in his yearly departmental review at the County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee meeting earlier this week, said a lack of vehicle inventory has resulted in decreased income for the county DMV.

“The volume of dealer work has dropped off pretty significantly in recent months – and that’s statewide,” he reported. “Every county clerk is experiencing the same thing. A lot of that has to do with inventory … so car sales have dropped off.”

County DMV staff continues to handle dealer work for both in-county and out-of-county entities, Cianfrini said, but the revenue thus far – about $132,000 through September – likely will lead to an amount less than what was generated in 2020.

He said he recently registered the local office to take part in a state-sponsored pilot program where local DMV offices will be able to process transactions received at the state office via mail or online.

“They’re (state DMV employees) behind right now in processing those transactions that are mailed into them,” he said. “They’re behind and we need the revenue so they started this program … where they mail (those) transactions to our county for us to process and return them to customers.”

Cianfrini said the pilot program is expected to start in November or December and “hopefully make up for some of the lost revenues from dealer sales being down.”

Mentioning that he attended the NYS Association of County Clerks conference in Poughkeepsie on Monday, Cianfrini said the group’s “biggest push this year is to increase the revenue sharing that we get from the state.”

He said local DMV offices receive 12.7 percent of revenue generated from in-office transactions and “a pittance” from online transactions.

“We will be trying to negotiate either an increase in the online share to bring it up to parity with the 12.7 percent we get in-office or some negotiated figure along those lines,” he advised. “We do the lion’s share of the work, yet we get a minimal amount of proceeds, so we don’t think that’s fair.”

Since August, the county DVM office has been open for residents of all counties without appointment, and continues to offer drop box service.

“We’re processing everything from the drop box or mailed (to us) the same day it is received and we get it turned around and mailed out that same day,” Cianfrini said. “One or two people are assigned to do just that.”

In areas concerning the Genesee County Clerk's office (which, along with the DMV, is located at County Building I pictured above), Cianfrini reported:

  • Back-scanning of records to digital images continues, with deed indexes and actual deed images available back to 1927, mortgage index and images back to 1966, miscellaneous records back to 1974 and miscellaneous index back to 1926.

“I just solicited a bid to get our mortgage index books back to 1917 and also asked for an estimate to image our mortgage books back to 1917,” he said. “Each year we’re trying to push our image records farther and farther back, especially for our online record sales. This makes it that much more valuable when people can do their research farther back.”

  • The clerk’s office began online record subscriptions in January 2020, and the practice has been successful – generating more than $33,000 thus far in 2021.

“We’re anticipating revenues of $45,000 for this year, which is significantly higher than last year,” he said. “We take these revenues as a credit against our IQS (Info Quick Solutions) document management services contract, so that lowers the contractual amount we have to pay each year.”

  • To date, pistol permit applications have hit the 440 mark and amendments have reached 2,273 – numbers that are higher than historic averages.
  • About $425,000 is projected in local mortgage tax revenue for 2021, up from $419,000 last year.

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