ANCHORAGE - The state plans to close seven offices of the Division of Motor Vehicles, including one of two in Juneau, at the end of the month because of budget cuts.
The closures include an office in downtown Anchorage, one of three in the city. Lone offices will close in Homer, Sitka, Nome, Delta Junction and Haines.
The closures are planned despite an increase in vehicle registration fees Gov. Frank Murkowski signed Monday that's expected to raise $12 million a year.
Assistant Administration Commissioner Kevin Jardell said that extra money will go into the state's general fund to help fill the gap between spending and revenues and help pay for other state services motorists receive, such as road plowing and law enforcement.
Jardell said he believes services can continue to be provided through technology, through other DMV offices, and through the use of commissioned agents in communities where offices are closed.
Mike Miller, commissioner of the Department of Administration, said the state will talk to local governments about possibly contracting with the state to provide local DMV services in return for a percentage of the fees collected on vehicle registration, licenses, road tests and the like. That is done now in more than a dozen Alaska communities.
DMV offices are closing, according to Miller, because of a budget cut of about $500,000 proposed by Gov. Frank Murkowski and accepted by the Legislature. About 10 employees will lose their jobs, Miller said.
The governor signed a bill Monday that increases fees for registering cars and most other vehicles by $10 to $16 a year.