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Avoid the DMV when renewing your license

The Washington County Clerk’s Office is partnering with the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security to offer a new site for driver’s license renewals in an effort to reduce waiting time.
County Clerk Kathy Storey said the Johnson City office at 378 Marketplace Blvd. began the service Sept. 19 and has renewed four or five licenses so far.
Renewals are available between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Storey said the Unicoi County Clerk’s Office is already offering the service, and Sullivan County will be starting soon. “We were willing to give it a try,” she said.
The five-year contract was signed during 2012, but it has taken time to get the machine in place.
The Johnson City office was chosen as the site because of its easier access, which does not require use of steps or an elevator.
While the wait time will hopefully be reduced, Storey said it still takes 15-20 minutes to complete the renewal.
“It’s easier if they have the renewal form with them, or else they have to fill out an application,” she said.
A trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles may be necessary at times because the clerk’s office does not offer the same range of services.
The clerk’s office is authorized to renew the following: a Class D License to operate a passenger vehicle, a Class M License to operate a motorcycle, and an Identification License for a person not currently holding a valid driver’s license.
The clerk’s office is not allowed to renew a commercial driver’s license in A, B or C classes.
There are also restrictions on changing information and endorsements on the license.
The state provides the renewal equipment and supplies to Washington County at no cost, but Storey said drivers will pay a $4 administrative fee if they renew at the clerk’s office, bringing the total to $23.50.
Those funds are undesignated and will go into the regular fee collection for now. Four of the seven employees in the Johnson City office are trained in the renewal process.
Though it pulls one of her employees off of titles and registration, Storey does not foresee hiring an additional employee, though that may change once more people learn of the new opportunity.
Storey said people initially had some difficulty finding the new office when it relocated from the Downtown Centre. “Now it stays busy,” she said.
Regardless of the renewal site, people are no longer walking away with their plastic driver’s licenses in hand.
Storey said a change made across the board now has all sites issuing a temporary paper license, with the official one being mailed from Nashville approximately three weeks later.