Bids open soon for new Motor Vehicle Department facility

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson Waits at the Clovis Motor Vehicle Department office range from a few minutes to upwards of two and a half hours. Bids for a new facility are being accepted this month.

Kevin Wilson

Just like the wait at the current Motor Vehicle Department facility in Clovis, the wait for a new MVD has stretched a little longer than expected.

Bids will be accepted later this month for upgrades to the 1,800-square-foot center at the Bruce King Complex, according to State Taxation and Revenue Department spokesman S.U. Mahesh.

“Since this is a state owned facility,” Mahesh said, “MVD is working with the General Services Department’s Property Control Division. MVD received the project manual and final drawings for the Clovis MVD office renovation from the Property Control Division.”

A pre-bid conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. April 12 at Building 3 of the Bruce King Complex, with bids to be unsealed 2 p.m. April 29.

Clovis has been waiting for such progress since December of 2009, when then-Taxation and Revenue Secretary Rick Homans visited the city to tout the state’s MVD website.

When he visited, he told the crowd the state was proceeding “full speed” on an upgrade to a 4,000-square-foot center.

“I think our office here in Clovis is probably one of the worst in the state,” Homans said. “It’s not up to our standards and it’s not up to your standards.”

Back then, the average wait time was 27 minutes. Now, it’s more than double that.

An average visit to the Clovis Motor Vehicle Department now, Mahesh said, is 56 minutes, 53 seconds. A visit to the Portales office is 41 minutes, 27 seconds.

The goal, Mahesh said, is 15 minutes.

Nobody interviewed on a Thursday visit to the Clovis MVD office got out faster than the goal time, and reviews ranged from acceptable to frustratingly long.

Nathaniel Roberts of Clovis didn’t need too long, as he left with his registration sticker in hand. He estimated he only took 15 minutes because he used an on-site kiosk.

Mahesh said of the 610 renewals completed from March 1-24 at the Clovis facility, more than one-sixth (109) used the kiosks.

However, Roberts said he has waited up to three hours on other visits.

“We normally go to Portales,” Roberts said. “They’re 20 to 30 minutes unless they’re really busy.”

During the March evaluation period, Mahesh said, there were 137 customers who waited for more than two hours, and 51 who had waited more than two-and-a-half hours. None of them got to the three-hour mark, he said.

The office is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. At 4 p.m., the doors are locked and everybody who arrived prior is helped before employees go home for the day.

Michael and Melissa Lucero pretty much planned their day around the department, as Michael needed to get his license before the two took a weekend trip out of town. He visited the office a few weeks ago. But his license was mailed to the wrong address, and he needed to get a temporary license. He spent an hour at the facility Thursday afternoon — his second visit, he said, because he didn’t like his prospects earlier in the day.

“I got here this morning,” he said, “and there were 50 people here.”

Chuck Hunker, who had a Thursday deadline to renew his license, arrived 10 minutes to close, and he left 25 minutes later from the MVD’s secondary exit.

“My brother-in-law told me if you go in (near closing time),” Hunker said, “they shut the door and get people through pretty fast.”