In an effort to alleviate strain on existing drivers license facilities, the Madison County Board of Supervisors began looking into the possibility of opening a Department of Public Safety (DPS) facility in Madison County.
The project was originally proposed in November 2018, and now, over a year and a half later, it seems to have come to a halt.
After the initial go-ahead was given to County Administrator Shelton Vance to identify potential buildings to house the drivers license facility, several existing buildings were considered, but none initially made the cut.
Eventually, a building near the Emergency Management Complex in Canton was identified as a viable option. The 9,200-square-foot building would cost the county $3.1 million in renovations to equip it properly for this purpose.
Since then, there has been no movement on the project, according to Vance. In fact, the last update on the project came in April 2019 when DPS and county officials were said to be working toward establishing the terms of an occupancy agreement, which would have been put before the board of supervisors for approval.
Discussion during the board meeting at that time centered on how many staff members would be on site, who was responsible for covering utilities, who would be responsible for paying employees, among other things.
However, Lt. Col. Ken Brown, director of the Driver Service Bureau told the Sun that he is unsure of the future of the project as there has been no communication from Madison County officials on if they intend to proceed.
“Madison County has not spoken to us since their last proposal to build a station in that area,” Brown said. “I really don’t know if the plan is still on the table, as they have not made any other contact with DPS on plans going forward.”
Recently, DPS has made a budget request for fiscal year 2021 for $2.9 million to equip a new driver’s license bureau in Madison County with workstations and other equipment, along with additional funds for salary increases for existing examiners.
“As far as the legislative request to purchase equipment, the request was not only for the Madison County facility. We currently have other locations in the works to include some of our current locations that are in need of additional work stations,” Brown said.
Whether the amount requested has been approved or amended in legislation remains to be seen, according to Brown.