Driver’s licenses and ID cards are issued in 83 county treasurers’ offices — and the Iowa DOT operates facilities in the most heavily populated areas of the state.
“We have 17 service centers in 16 counties right now,” says Iowa DOT director Mark Lowe.
There already are two DOT license stations in Polk County — one in Ankeny and the other on the north side of Des Moines. Lowe has presented the governor with a plan to open a new DOT service center on the west side of the Des Moines metro, in Dallas County. Lowe says Dallas County officials are overwhelmed.
“They’re doing about 26,000 licenses and IDs a year which is over seven times more than the average county treasurer’s office and it’s very comparable to what we do in our Ames, Council Bluffs and Dubuque Service Centers,” Lowe says. “Dallas County officials have come to us and asked us if we would take over the services in Dallas County and we’ve agreed to do that.”
Lowe says Dallas County’s population is two-and-a-half times larger than it was when the Dallas County Treasurer began issuing licenses out of the courthouse in Adel. The DOT director told the governor staffing costs for the new DOT facility in Dallas County would be half a million dollars.
“You’ll also see in our capital budget $350,000 which would be the build-out of a leased facility to house the new service center,” Lowe says. “And we’re targeting the start of January of 2020 to have that up and running in place and Dallas County has been working closely with us and will be a great partner in that transition.”
This is the DOT’s second try at getting a new service center in Dallas County. In 2016, Senate Democrats voted to specifically prohibit the DOT from buying, building, renting or leasing any kind of license station in Dallas County. Republicans are now in charge in the state senate — and the senate president is from Dallas County, but he has not commented publicly on the DOT’s proposal.