Department of Driver’s Services to open Bainbridge facility at old CVB building

Published 11:15 am Friday, May 23, 2014

Decatur County residents will not have to commute to Miller County to get their driver’s licenses after May 2015, or possibly earlier, once a Department of Driver Services facility opens up in Bainbridge.

Friday, DDS Commissioner Rob Mikell came to Bainbridge to announce the opening of the new facility along with DDS legislative liaison Mike Mitchell.

What was formerly the City of Bainbridge Convention and Visitor’s Bureau will be renovated slightly in the coming months to become a DDS facility. Mikell said the lot has potential to be open full-time, provide employment and even one day become an operation that facilitates motorcycle testing.

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“We did an analysis of zip codes at the Miller County facility — what is the zip code of the people who are coming in and what facility are they going to,” Mikell said. “We came up with about 18,000 transactions at the Miller County facility and we found people were coming from Decatur, Seminole, Mitchell and Baker counties as well as a few from Early, Grady and Miller counties.”

Roughly two-thirds of the 18,000 transactions at the Miller County facility were coming from Seminole and Decatur counties. Mikell said about 9,000 transactions came from Decatur County.

The new facility in Bainbridge will also be open full-time, where as the Miller County facility currently operates on a part-time basis. The DDS hopes this will provide a manager position, three full-time examiner and three part-time examiner positions. Those postings are available on the DDS website.

There is a possibility the Miller County facility will close, but DDS has not made the final decision, Mikell said.

“But it would be hard to keep that one open part-time and this one full-time,” Mikell said.

As for hours, the plan is to let the community needs dictate when the new DDS facility is in operation. Mikell said the facility could eventually operate part of the day Saturday if the community expresses that need.

Mikell said the CVB facility already being available provides a large cost savings.

“A lot of times when we got to a new community there is not an existing building, so you have a massive, front-end cost of building and you don’t have that here,” Mikell said. “This will be very cost-effective and the building is gorgeous. Our people will be able to take pride in coming to work here everyday.”