Employees of the Genesee County Clerk and Department of Motor Vehicles are knee-deep in work as they continue to deal with COVID-19 mandates that have resulted in longer wait times for those seeking pistol permits and have relegated the DMV office to appointment-only status.
That’s the latest word from County Clerk Michael Cianfrini, who provided an update of the departments on Wednesday at the Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse.
Cianfrini, in dividing his report into two sections – recording office and DMV, said that on a daily basis, pistol permits are “probably our biggest operation.”
Because of COVID-19 restrictions on the number of people in one place at one time, Cianfrini said he has had to modify the way pistol permit issuance classes are conducted. Instead of one group class per month, he is providing the necessary information on an individual basis in the clerk’s office.
“This is fairly time consuming, but at the end of the class, the applicants receive their permits,” he said. “We want to get people their permits as quickly as we can.”
Cianfrini said the turnaround time in Genesee County from submission of the permit application to the issuance of the permit is about three months. While that may seem like a long wait, he said it is much better than other counties, singling out Monroe County “where it takes 12 to 15 months at a minimum.”
Pistol Permits are in Demand
And residents continue to apply for pistol permits at an increasing rate, he said, advising that he expects his office to handle about 400 permits this year – the same or more than the number in 2019. From 2009 through 2012, Genesee County handled an average of 206 permits each year.
Numbers: 2009-2012 – averaged 206 permits per year – about 1,400 amendments per year; 2019 – almost 400 permits, and 2,628 amendments – on pace for about 400 permits in 2020.
In response to a comment from Legislator Gary Maha about supply, Cianfrini agreed that currently there is a shortage of guns and ammunition.
Handling motor vehicle transactions at the DMV office is “an even bigger challenge,” Cianfrini said.
“We basically had to change the way we do business,” he said. “Per Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo’s mandate (which took effect on June 22), it’s by appointment only and only for Genesee County residents.”
As would be expected, the amount of phone calls coming into the local DMV is staggering.
“Hundreds per day, requesting appointments, requesting information,” Cianfrini said. “We’re getting calls from other counties, people just going through the phone book. We’re getting calls from Westchester County and Suffolk County, Long Island. We’ll say (to them), “What are you calling here for and they’ll say, ‘I’m just going down the list, we got to the Gs and you answered.’ ”
Listing of In-Office Transactions
Transactions being handled in the office include standard, REAL ID and Enhanced License renewals and transfers from out of state; first-time applications to upgrade to REAL ID or Enhanced licenses or non-driver ID cards; first-time applications for non-driver Identification Cards; applications for passenger, motorcycle or CDL permits; conditional or restricted licenses; vehicle registration reciprocity from another state, and testing and issuance for learner’s permits and commercial driver’s licenses.
Cianfrini said any registration transaction is limited to the drop boxes in Le Roy and Batavia, and he encourages residents to use the drop boxes, which are checked twice a day and are overflowing with paperwork.
“New registrations with license plates issued are limited to Genesee County residents only. Those go into the drop box and we process those as fast as we can,” he said. “We’re currently running 10 days to two weeks to get those processed and get the plates issued. We call the customer and they come in to pick up their plates.”
Vehicle registration renewals and license plate surrenders are pulled from the drop box and processed the same day they are received, with the registrations and/or receipts mailed back to the customer upon completion, he added.
Cianfrini acknowledged that people do get upset -- calling it an “unfortunate situation,” but signaled that if these transactions were done in the office, the wait for an appointment could be a month.
“Right now, we’re scheduling license transactions out about two weeks, while that some counties are scheduling appointments now for December,” he said.
Other key points of his presentation:
Department of Motor Vehicles
- Deb Igoe has replaced Leslie Krajewski, who retired, as deputy clerk for the DMV. Cianfrini said Krajewski is missed, but Igoe has “jumped in with both feet and has even exceeded my expectations.”
- Dealer work at the DMV is through the roof. The local office has taken in more than $150,000 in revenue through dealer work in 2020, just a bit less than 2019, but an impressive total considering that the office took in no dealer transactions for three months. Cianfrini said the five-year average for dealer transactions is $163,000 per year.
- The county DMV’s procedure for answering the phone is the most efficient, with Cianfrini claiming that online appointment systems have no customer service help and they run the risk of “crashing” and losing previously set up appointments.
- Overall, DMV revenues are better than anticipated. Vehicle use tax revenue is projected at $400,000 for 2020; the 2019 total was $402,000. Motor vehicle online transactions will reach close to $30,000 this year; the 2019 total was $17,600.
- The county is requesting the state to provide equipment to add another station at the DMV office, which would be linked to the state DMV server to process transactions. The additional stations could be used to run dealer or drop-box transactions in the near future, and possibly open to the public once the appointment mandate is lifted. Currently, the DMV office has eight full-time and two part-time employees.
Clerk’s Recording Office
- The process of back scanning land records and civil records to facilitate online searches of these records on a subscription basis continues. Deed indexes, the actual deeds and mortgage index books are accessible back to 1927, while and the actual mortgage documents are scanned back to 1966. Plans call for those to be scanned back to 1927, but it is an expensive task. Miscellaneous records go back to 1974 and that index goes back to 1926.
- Through the clerk’s office user accounts for online records, more than $30,000 in revenue is expected for this year.
- COVID-19 has forced attorneys and title companies to do more electronic filing of legal documents, which has led to a large increase in the office’s electronic-recording. “It is much more efficient to accept these documents electronically versus bringing them in and handing them to us,” he said, adding that the office is encountering a huge increase in E-filing of civil records as well, going through the NYS Courts Electronic Filing program.