Dems: Preston pulled trigger too quickly on DMV

By Matt Porter

January 22, 2014 Updated Jan 23, 2014 at 12:06 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The new branch location for the DMV in Binghamton opened today with a heavy criticism from two democrat county legislators.

The legislators say Republican Broome County Executive Debbie Preston acted too quickly on moving the DMV, and didn't consult legislators or local businesses and residents on the new location, at 81 Chenango Street, in Binghamton.

Democrat legislator Jason Garnar said the new location at the downtown transportation center will be less convenient and cost taxpayers more.

"This really isn't going to save taxpayers money because it's going to force them to now pay for parking they didn't have to pay before," Garnar said. "They're going to be walking several blocks to get here."

The transportation center has an adjacent parking lot and a garage across the street which will cost 25 cents for each half hour.

The county said it paid at least $20,000 a year to rent the parking lot next to the old Clinton Street location.

The law gives Preston the power to choose a new location with approval from the county clerk, but Garnar said she had the obligation to survey the community.

"This is a policy county executive Preston put into place," Garnar said. "When you go and make your own policy, you should be following up, meeting with the public, getting feedback."

Preston did not survey the customers at the DMV as suggested by Garnar.

She said her choice of location was based on affordability.

Federal money paid for the transit center building, and she needed to fill the building or the federal government could take ownership of the transit intermodal center.

Democrat legislator Anthony Fiala said he would have pushed for surveys of the community, but was caught by surprise at how fast the county executive made the decision, just three months after the budget was passed.

"At that time, we did not know the DMV was going to make a move in that quick of a time," Fiala said.

The Clinton Street branch was in Fiala's legislative district.

"I would think they would give me the courtesy" Fiala said, "Especially if it's leaving my district."

Republican Broome County Executive Debbie Preston found it laughable the two democrats didn't know where the DMV was moving.

"It was a well known fact of where it was going," Preston said, "I mean what was I going to do? Sell the building and then rent somewhere else from somebody."

In addition to saving $20,000 a year from parking, Preston had an estimate on the building which is valued at $190,000.

She said objections this late in the game are only a distraction.

"This is just political," Preston said. "I just don't have the time for the political nonsense."

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