Posted: Aug 15, 2014 8:19 PM by Brittany Weiss
Updated: Aug 15, 2014 10:27 PM
CLINTON - State lawmakers say the wait times are too high at Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles locations, and it's created a problem for those who need to get their paperwork organized on time.
Rep. Kenneth Havard says he's had constituents call complaining of 90 minute wait times. In January, Governor Bobby Jindal's administration dropped staffing levels by 23 percent, pending budget cuts and a $1.2 billion deficit in 2016.
"It looks to me like we're just trying to cut and cut and cut," said Havard.
In Clinton, the OMV operates with one employee. There's another office in West Feliciana that also only has one employee.
That one employee in Clinton helped 1,621 customers in July. That comes to about 70 customers per day, all helped by one person.
The OMV said staff is moved around to help with the long wait times, but now the people are moving, hoping to skip long lines at larger offices. It's created longer wait times at small offices, too.
Havard says right now, there doesn't seem to be a solution.
"We either staff the offices in Baker and Baton Rouge, so people won't have to drive this far to get their license renewed," said Havard.
There is a way to bypass the long lines. The OMV has turned to private programs, allowing outside contractors to handle license renewals for an $18 fee.
For those who do need to wait in line, there is no telling when the lines will be long or short. Brenda Garner said it took her four tries to register a new vehicle.
"I bought the car a couple weeks ago," she said. "But I have been driving by to see how full they are and if they're full I just keep going and try another day."
Garner didn't want to waste an afternoon at the OMV, and Friday spent about 30 minutes waiting. Others haven't been so lucky.
"It has been a lot of waiting," said Garner, "A lot of waiting."
An OMV report says the average wait time was 8 to 16 minutes in 2009.