Virginia's DMV Facing Over $13 Million Budget Shortfall

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Richard Holcomb, DMV commissioner Richard Holcomb, DMV commissioner

Virginia's Department of Motor Vehicles is facing a budget shortfall of almost $13.5 million.

The DMV commissioner, Richard Holcomb, says because the agency has been required to take on more demands, otherwise known as unfunded mandates, the money has to come from somewhere. If it can't raise fees, the only places left to cut would be jobs or offices.

"Salary increases, benefits, retirement and health care increases, elevated it costs, increased usage of credit card and costs associated with compliance of standards set by the banking industry," Holcomb said is what attributed to the budget shortfall.

Another challenge is that even when the cost of certain services has gone up, the added collections have gone to support other state agencies.

"And bottom line, members of the committee, if we don't have a significant increase in revenue, we're going to be looking significant cuts in fiscal year 2018,” Holcomb said.

Now, Holcomb says it might be time to raise vehicle registration or title fees.

"The $4 registration fee, the $10 title fee were all set in the 1980s and so if you factor in inflation, that $4 would be closer to $9 of the registration fee and the title fee would be closer to $22," Holcomb said.

Lawmakers agree that when they return to session in 2018, some action must be taken.

“I expect the administration to present this next session with kind of a laundry list of possible areas where we might be able to increase, like the titling fee, which is currently $10. We may want to increase that, at least enough so we can make them whole so they're not operating at a deficit," 24th District Sen. Emmett Hanger (R) said.

The DMV also says it put in place a cost savings plan over the past several years to make itself leaner and more efficient. That cut about $20 million from the overall bottom line, but the sentiment expressed today by the commissioner was that they're running out of areas to slash spending.