MAYVILLE - Moving the Dunkirk DMV office a half-mile down the road could save Chautauqua County tens of thousands of dollars a year.
George Spanos, county public facilities director, discussed the potential move during a recent Administrative Services Committee meeting.
He said moving the Dunkirk DMV branch from its D&F Plaza location to 3988 Vineyard Drive - a half-mile away - would net the county over $37,000 in savings a year with a new 10-year lease agreement. The county's current lease in the plaza is set to expire Aug. 31, 2012.
Spanos noted that the Vineyard Drive address listed in the resolution's prefile, and mentioned in the OBSERVER last week, was incorrect. It is, however, the former Blockbuster building, which currently houses Lawley Insurance.
"The location is closer to the intersection of (New York) Route 60 and Interstate 90 where a lot of people come off and do a lot of business," Spanos said.
The county was looking at a $5,000 increase a year in rent space at the current DMV office; the landlord there would not allow the county to reduce its footprint within the complex.
"The current developer did not want to renegotiate to reduce the square footage," Spanos said.
The current office takes up approximately 4,500 square feet and also houses the county Environmental Health Department Dunkirk office - which, according to Christine Schuyler, county health commissioner, will be based out of Mayville starting in August.
"Our two workers out of that office really are mobile. They work out of their cars," she said. "We're just reducing our footprint."
The current lease, Spanos said, costs the county approximately $80,000 a year; had the county stayed at the plaza, the cost would have gone up to over $83,000 by September.
If approved by lawmakers next week at their full-body meeting, the county would rent 2,447 square feet at the Vineyard Drive location at a cost of $17.76 per square foot. The total bill, including personnel to clean, would cost under $43,000 a year. The county would also have to foot the bill for new carpeting and tiling, but Spanos noted the savings over the term of the lease.
"Over 10 years you're looking at $300,000 to $350,000 in savings," he said. "It's a significant amount."
County Executive Greg Edwards said he was pleased to see his administration shop around to find significant savings to county taxpayers. It's a business model, he said, that streamlines services without adding costs.
"I do appreciate the work George Spanos did with Sandy Sopak (county clerk) to look for the right building at the right price," Edwards said to the OBSERVER. "They found the right building. George is an excellent negotiator and was able to work with the landlord to get a price he would be willing to work with.
"We were able to cut our cost and improve our location."
Edwards said the state is looking to increase its registrations and licensing online, which would cut into profits received by the clerk's office - around $250,000 a year.
However, the county executive noted that many drivers in southern Erie County, many of whom come from car dealerships, utilize Chautauqua County DMV offices.
"We don't set out to do that," he said, "but we do get a significant amount of southern Erie County drivers."
Asked to comment on the location, Sopak said: "It's a very nice place, a beautiful location. This would play out very well."