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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Joe Jastrzemski
Niagara County Clerk candidate Joe Jastrzemski called on New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the State Legislature to enact legislation increasing the local share of DMV revenues from 12.7 percent to 25 percent and to "stop undercutting local DMVs in their interactions with auto dealerships" after a major high-volume dealer in Central New York left a county government with a $220,000 drop in revenues by adopting a pilot program proffered by state government.

Jastrzemski noted that 51 of New York’s counties are mandated to operate local DMVs by the state, and provide 12.7 percent of the revenues from select transactions performed by local clerks.  However, a pilot program offered by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles cuts the locally-mandated DMVs out of licensing and registering newly-sold automobiles altogether—meaning that Albany collects 100 percent of the fees associated with putting a car on the road, despite requiring local counties to provide DMV services without state funds.

“This action by the state leaves counties without revenue to operate the very DMVs the state mandates them to offer,” Jastrzemski said. “If Niagara County’s auto dealerships chose to bypass local DMVs, they wouldn’t save any costs, but would deprive our DMVs of local operating revenue exceeding $230,000 annually.”

A draft resolution drawn up by Niagara
County Clerk candidate Joe Jastrzemski.
In the case of Oneida County in Central New York, the 14-dealership Carbone Auto Group’s decision to conduct all transactions directly with the state DMV and bypass the local DMV has punched a $220,000 hole in the local operating budget.

“We need to prevent what is occurring in Central New York from happening here,” Jastrzemski said. “This has the potential to be a quarter-million dollar sucker punch by Albany.”

Jastrzemski offered a draft resolution he will ask Niagara County lawmakers to pass addressing the issue.

“We need to tell Albany that when good, local DMV clerks are processing the transactions, more of those fees should stay here locally,” Jastrzemski said.  “We should be allowed to keep adequate funds to pay for our DMVs.”

“The state has given us a Catch-22: provide a service, but don’t receive adequate local fees to pay for it—and by the way, they’re also allowed to go into direct competition with us. That’s insane,” Jastrzemski said.

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