After a $16.85 million bond referendum to house a new county administration and jail facility was voted down in early August, county officials such as Darrell Bauman say county offices-particularly the driver’s license department-continue to face overcrowding issues.
The current facility sits at 700-square feet with an additional 160-square feet shared between the department and the motor vehicle department.
According to Bauman, many Iowa DOT issuing stations similar in size to Dallas County’s have an average square footage of 3,035.
“As Dallas County grows, we will have more people coming to our building,” Bauman said. “We are already seeing lines form around 7:30 in the morning, and many times we don’t get done until after 4:30 that afternoon.”
The number of license registrations has increased over the years, jumping from 16,400 in 2012 to 24,200 in 2013. “We’ve been patient with the bond issue which didn’t work out, but we need to do something,” Bauman said. “This would be the opportune time for us because our activity is slowing down. We are in a small area and need to expand the employee as well as waiting areas.”
Bauman suggested to the Dallas County Board of Supervisors at their most recent Tuesday meeting that other temporary options might be on the table for consideration.
Supervisor Kim Chapman asked Bauman if he envisioned the driver’s license and motor vehicle departments to remain together in which Bauman said he would prefer to separate them.
“At this point, I believe we would need to separate them because we need more space, but also it might eliminate confusion when looking for the driver’s license and motor vehicle departments,” Bauman stated.
Supervisor Brad Golightly also asked Bauman how his department would use the additional space if the department was relocated.
“We need more space for the people,” Bauman responded. “Everything—the employees, people waiting in line, and machines—are all crammed together. It’s just a big frustration for everyone.”
A temporary modular unit was suggested by Golightly; however, Bauman said the unite would need to be at least 1,500-square feet in order to accommodate the needs of his department.
Chairman Mark Hanson added, “If we were breaking ground at another facility then you (Bauman) could see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have to come up with a long-term solution at some point.”
Although there were no definitive options presented to house the department, Bauman emphasized he would like to address his department’s needs before March of next year.
After some discussion, the board agreed to allow Bauman and a select staff to look at temporary options for his department.